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Yonder, South Carolina is best known for three things: its large blueberry bushes, award-winning corn-fried catfish and the Trivell siblings: Diamond, Pearl, Opal, Sterling and Kirkland. Known for their small town celebrity as a young, local, gospel singing group, the Trivell five were the apple of every parent's eye and envy of everyone's kids. But one by one they escaped Yonder and their strict parents rule, and forged lives of their own. Now that Mama Trivell has suddenly died, the Trivell siblings must return to Yonder to bury her and face some demons of their own that they thought were long laid to rest. That is, until new secrets emerge that could threaten to tear them apart for good.



* * *


Diamond, the soprano and baby of the Trivell family, has been back and forth to Yonder more than she cares to remember. Having left home for college at 16, she graduated to become a successful Houston attorney and, inadvertently, the family’s savior. Now that a big funeral is being planned, bills are mounting, and all eyes are on her. But this time, she finally has something to say about it.



Pearl, the soloist and prettiest of the Trivell girls, thought her good looks would get her out of Yonder if her voice didn't take her first. Unfortunately, two husbands and four kids later, her dreams are long gone. But when she hears mama has left a huge chunk of inheritance behind, she hopes she can convince the others to give it all to her so she can finally have a chance at happiness.



Opal, the alto, and most talented of the Trivell girls, packed up her keyboard and headed to California years ago in hopes of becoming a famous jazz club singer much to everyone's disappointment. Now a successful Bay Area singer, her family's disapproval is no longer about what she sings but more about who she shares her bed with, and she's finally going home to "face the music."


Sterling, the bass, and oldest of the Trivell family found his ticket out of Yonder in the form of a military tour of duty. Having seen the world twice over, the last place he wants to return is to "countryfied" Yonder to bury mama and, worse, face the mother of his own child he abandoned years ago.


 Kirkland, the tenor and baby boy in the Trivell family, has chased his dreams of being an actor, singer and dancer to New York only to have his hopes end in a barrage of bad decisions, drinking and drugs. Now 10 years have passed and Kirkland is forced to return toYonder to try and figure out where he went wrong and, most importantly, find his place in the world.


Although the Trivell siblings have no idea what they'll find when they return to Yonder, what they take away with them when they leave will be far more than any of them ever expected.






“Nice set tonight. I know you sang ‘Good Morning, Heartache’ just for me,” Franklin said with a smile.

“Sure did,” Opal replied and ran her hands through her shoulder-length dreads before exhaling.

“Your usual?”

“Surprise me tonight.”

He winked.

Opal rested her weight in a high-back bar chair and watched Franklin pour Vodka into a tall glass, then a shot of whisky, some peach stuff and something else she’d seen before but didn’t know the name of.

“For you, diva.” He slid a martini glass toward her and the force caused some of its liquid to spill over the top.

“Hmm. Not bad, what is it?” she asked after taking a sip.

“It’s called A Rainy Night. I thought it was appropriate,” he replied and pointed toward the glass doors where little raindrops began to form.

They could see people walking by using newspapers and jackets as makeshift umbrellas. The forecast had obviously caught everyone off guard. Ironically, the night had been full of surprises.

Opal glanced around B. Flat’s Jazz Club and took in the array of empty glasses that sat atop little circular tables dressed in black tablecloths and kept company by little, white flickering candles. The club was pretty much empty with the exception of a loud group sitting in a back booth who should have probably skipped “last call.” The saxophonist sat alone on stage and improvised Luther Vandross’ “If Only for One Night,” while a waiter began to clear tables and two waitresses sat on the corner of the stage counting their tips.

“Now how about you tell me who rained on your parade?” Franklin asked.

She exhaled again and turned to face him. She was sure the look on her face said it all.

Franklin ran his hand over his baldhead then tossed his bar towel across his shoulder. He walked from behind the bar andpulled up a stool next to her.

“Remember when I walked in here 10 years ago?” Opal asked then took another sip of her drink.

“Like it was yesterday. You had on that red pant suit and those red pumps, and I thought to myself, ‘get this child a gig or a stylist quick ‘cause only a fool would be bold enough to try and pull off that outfit,” he laughed.

“And you ended up getting me one and being the other,” she said and grabbed his hand.

“Yeah, I did, but you had to work to keep the gig.”

“And did I ever. Opening for all those tired acts, fighting Marvin for my fair share of tips, losing Sammy to the Rhythms over at Ruby's. Lord, have mercy.”

“But look who’s headlining now,” he interrupted. “The Jazz Diva of the Bay Area.”

“And don’t you forget it,” she replied and mustered up a chuckle.

Franklin smirked and Opal knew he was way too smart to fall for her false euphoria. He knew her almost better than anyone.

“So what’s really going on, Ms.Lady?”

She felt tears well up in her eyes and shook her head back slightly to ward them away. “You ever wonder if you sacrificed too much for your own selfish dreams?” she asked.

Franklin stared at her intently and waited for her to continue.

“Mama died today,” she replied, no longer able to hold back the tears.

“Oh, Opal, I’m so sorry, baby.” He pulled her size 16 frame into his chest as if she were light as a feather and held her tight. She let him hold her for what seemed like an eternity. She needed a warm embrace.

“What happened?” Franklin asked.

“Heart attack in her sleep, I guess. Shit, Iwas probably responsible for it.”

“You were not. Don’t even do that to yourself. It was just her time, Opal. That’s all. Just her time. You know she was proud of you.”

“I guess,” she mumbled, pulling away from him and wiping her eyes.

“Wasn’t she the one that sent you that blueberry cheesecake the day of your audition? And then that lemon pound cake opening night? The one we almost fought each other over? You almost lost some hair that night, girlfriend!”

Opal laughed at the memory. Most people sent flowers on opening night but not Mama. She sent her signature lemon pound cake. Even though all she really wanted was a phone call.

 “When’s the funeral?” Franklin asked, interrupting her thoughts.

“I don’t know yet. I need to call my sisters and get things together.”

“Well, whatever you need, you let me know. Even if you need me to go with you to Yander. Shoot, I’ll dig out my best rhinestone overalls and escort you all the way into that little countrytown.”

“It’s Yonder. And I’ll be fine. Besides, I don’t think they’re ready for a rhinestone anything down there yet,” she laughed. She touched Franklin’s face and admired his model features from his chestnut eyes to the cleft in his chiseled jaw all perfectly set on a caramel-smooth face.

He kissed the inside of her hand before taking it in his own. “So, are you taking Tony with you?” he asked.

Opal picked up her glass and finished the rest of her drink in one gulp then turned back to face Franklin.

           “You know, I’ve been asking myself that question all night,” she replied.