Here is part two of ESSENCE’s exclusive excerpts from the sequel to “Waiting to Exhale,” titled “Getting to Happy,” which fast-forwards 15 years and catches us up on the lives of our four beloved friends. Yes, Gloria married her sexy neighbor Marvin. Did they live happily ever after? Yes, Gloria married her sexy neighbor Marvin. Did they live happily ever after? On the morning her doorbell rang, Gloria was in the backyard, on her hands and knees, pulling weeds and digging in dirt. She removed her cowhide gloves, wiped the sweat from her brow, took a sip of her Pepsi, and yelled, “Be there in a second!” She whistled and skipped up the three steps because Gloria was happy. It was her and Marvin’s anniversary. For the past fourteen years they were guilty of filling each other’s lives with so much love they often thanked each other for it. For at least a decade, they marked their anniversary by planting a single hue of flowers indigenous to the desert. Marvin was at Clarkson’s Nursery buying flats of Ocotillo, Red Yucca and Baha Ruby Fairy Dusters along with mulch and bumper crop. This was their red season. Before she reached the front door, she could see a few long-stemmed Birds of Paradise and Pink Ginger peeking through the glass. Gloria was tickled. Marvin always had them delivered early. Wanted her to know she was still being wooed. It’s definitely date night. The soles of her rubber boots were caked with mud, so Gloria kicked them off before entering the kitchen. She could smell the oxtails beginning to stew in the Crockpot she’d filled with water and garlic, onions and celery, and probably a dozen other spices. This was Marvin’s favorite dish. On their anniversary, she always gave him what he wanted. Last year Gloria gave him an iPod and since Marvin loved him some Marvin Gaye, she had Joline — the little white girl who does weaves at Oasis — load it up with every song he ever made. As she lifted the top off the oxtails, Gloria knew it would still be a couple of hours before she could add the carrots, tomatoes, and butter beans. Butter beans? Gloria was back outside when she heard her grandkids running on the gravel walkway along the side of the house. They sounded like little ponies. Gloria remembered she’d forgotten to take her blood pressure medication. She took her daily aspirin before she went to bed. She’d had a heart attack back in eighty nine, right after she met Marvin. This was when he became her personal trainer and nutritionist. Tarik was dipping the ladle into the Crockpot and scooping out a small oxtail. “I made lieutenant, Ma.” “Oh, my Lord! That’s just wonderful baby,” Gloria said without having to fake her enthusiasm. “When?” “I’ve known for a few months but it became official yesterday.” She walked over to him and gave him the kind of hug she used to give him when he made the honor roll. “I’m so proud of you, Tarik. So proud.” “What time is it?” Gloria asked. “Almost eleven thirty.” The doorbell rang. “You want me to get it for you, Ma?” “Sure go ahead. I hope it’s more flowers!” From Getting to Happy by Terry McMillan. To be published by Viking on September 7, 2010. Printed by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. Copyright Terry McMillan 2010.