WRITER WEDNESDAY CHARACTER DEPICTION: THE HEART OF OLIVIA

Carrying on her mother’s legacy is not quite as simple as Olivia Leilani Morris envisioned. As the owner of BeJeweled Salon, she faces the challenge of inspiring the clientele while trying to pick up the pieces of the lives of her team of talented stylists. 

Paired with their drama she must now fight to keep her heart protected, from the one man who has always laid claim to it. When Raymond Ellsworth returns to town after divorcing his wife, it’s all Olivia can do to stay strong in the presence of her old friend. She wants more than to be his forever friend, but it appears that he still sees her as the young girl he left behind years ago.

Olivia’s determined to not only inspire her clientele, but she’s also seeking to expand her prosperous salon. Quoting scriptures and prayer may not be enough to ward off infidelity, domestic violence, and promiscuity in the gossip-filled atmosphere of BeJeweled.

Hi, I’m Olivia Morris, owner of BeJeweled Salon, located downtown in the beautiful city of Atlanta, Georgia. BeJeweled has become the center of my world since my mother’s passing just over five years ago. Mama, Jewel Elizabeth Morris put her heart and soul in this shop that she purchased in the ’80s. She had big dreams…dreams that she didn’t quite live to see come true, God rest her soul. And it’s been my mission to fulfill her dreams and possibly exceed them if I can. But I’m all alone and on my own now, so trust me when I say the road is challenging. Mama was my best friend, she was all I really had in this world. Don’t get me wrong, I have other friends, but my world revolved around that woman.

My father passed away from a stroke when I was only four years old, so I don’t know much about him. I’ve never seen a picture or anything, but mama always said I look just like him. Well, after he passed of course with me being an only child, my mama made me her world until I left for Albany State University at the age of 18. I focused completely on my education for six years in the city of Albany, Georgia before returning home to Atlanta. Unlike many of my peers, I seldom had time for dating. Whenever I wasn’t studying I was spending most of my spare time with my close friend Raymond Ellsworth. Raymond eventually broke my heart and he never knew it.

We shared all of our closest secrets and dating advice, but there was one secret that I held back from him. I was in love with the man from day one, but he was a player…one who would never marry. Or so I thought anyway. He did eventually marry a woman named Bethany and had two children with her, leaving my heart in shattered pieces on the floor. I caught two more broken hearts along the way from men who weren’t as invested in the relationships as I was, but they weren’t Raymond anyway, so maybe it was for the best.

My first serious relationship was with Craig Newberry and he cured me of all my naiveté. Thinking we were ready to move to the next level, we exchanged keys to each other’s apartments. Well, I decided to surprise him one day after work, and the surprise was on me. Needless to say, finding him in bed with his ex-girlfriend was the end of our relationship. My next serious relationship, five years later was surely leading to the altar right? Wrong…the man of my dreams discarded me like an old pair of shoes when he got his shipping orders. I was left behind right along with Fort McPherson as he shipped out to his next base. I never heard from him again. Three strikes and you’re out said my heart.

 I could have sat around trying to figure out what was wrong with me, but mama had raised me to be a strong, independent woman of God. So I put all of my energy and focus into mama’s and now my salon…BeJeweled. She’s my baby, my friend, and my life. My purpose and God-given mission in life are to inspire and lift others up. Whether through an encouraging word, a scripture, or an opportunity given, it is my goal to inspire and empower others to pursue their dreams and fulfill their destiny.

I’ve expanded the hair salon to include nail, facial, and massage services. What wasn’t on the menu was the gossip, and drama my team has brought into my shop. But at the age of 46, I’ve got maturity, experience, wisdom, and my Heavenly Father on my side to keep things under control. But sometimes, even saints can be tested. I’m definitely being tested because everywhere I look there is trouble brewing, and my clients and staff love nothing more than heated drama.

One of my stylists is in an abusive marriage and while she won’t admit to it, I’m determined to get her help if possible. Because if someone doesn’t, it could mean the end of her life. I believe once you have an understanding of something, you should give the best that you have to be a positive factor. That’s all you can do is give your best.

My masseuse is the only one who seems to keep his personal business out of the salon; but then there are days when I’m not so sure. You see I try to keep my finger on the pulse of my salon, it’s my business to know what’s going on. But there seems to be something kicking up between him and two good friends of his, who happens to be my nail techs. If they’re not careful it could lead to a whole lot of confusion. But we’ll keep our eye on that situation later.

In the meantime, my greatest trouble is coming from a stylist by the name of Kianna. She’s Atlanta’s greatest and latest when it comes to fashionable hair designs. She’s been called on to do some of the top national hair shows when they arrive in town. Everyone wants her and everyone knows her. But that’s not always good, especially when some of those men wanting, she leads to their women knowing her, which leads angry women right to the doors of BeJeweled.

 Another one that’s got my hands full right now is that Angel. Her mother named her right, but the situation she’s in right now is nothing but the devil, and it’s giving her pure hell. With all of my praying and inspirational advice I have for everyone, I don’t know if I can even straighten out all this mess. There is drama going on day after day, and we’re bringing it right into your living room.

Oh yes, I’ve got a project in the works for expansion. So that’s keeping me away from a personal life of my own and sometimes keeps me away from the shop. And you know what they say when the cat’s away the mice will play. These ladies and the two gentlemen of BeJeweled cut up when I’m not around. I still think I can handle all of that turmoil. But, what I’m not prepared for is my old friend Raymond Ellsworth’s return to Atlanta and my life. What could he possibly want from me now? I don’t know if I have the strength or energy to fight that battle.

And that’s just part of what happens in the first part of the series. Oh, I forgot to mention this series. BeJeweled is only the first in the series…and you’ll have to be the judge of whether or not it reminds you of a salon near you. One way or another, I’m going to keep my mother’s dream of moving forward.

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