One In A Million
Release Date, June 17, 2008
Sample Excerpt Discussion Questions
In a first novella by the New York Times bestselling author of the Reverend Curtis Black series, a wife and a husband receive a surprise that will change their lives forever.
Kennedi Mason thinks she’s the luckiest woman on earth. She loves her job, she has a wonderful best friend, and she’s been married for ten years to her soul mate. There’s nothing she can think of that could make her life any better.
Then, one fateful day Kennedi receives a piece of news that will turn her world upside down. She’s excited about it, and she knows that her husband, Blake, will be over the moon. He has always dreamed of this one thing happening, and she can’t wait until he comes home so she can tell him.
But when she sees Blake that evening, he has a special announcement of his own. It shocks Kennedi into silence and wipes the admission she was planning to make right out of her mind. In an instant, her life and her marriage have changed, but not at all in the way that she had expected.
A poignant and satisfying story of hope, Kimberla Lawson Roby’s One in a Million beautifully shows us the difference between what we think we want—and what we actually need—in order to be truly happy.
Kennedi sat on the family room sofa, completely in a daze. “This just couldn’t be,” was all she could think. Of course, she’d only learned the incredible news less than thirty minutes ago but still, it just wasn’t sinking in the way she needed it to. It didn’t seem real and the more she replayed the entire scenario, over and over, it felt more like some fantasy—like some crazy dream her subconscious had concocted.
She was trying her best to accept what she now knew had to be the truth, but she wasn’t sure how to deal with it. She wasn’t sure what her next steps should be, although, she guessed the first thing she needed to do was call her husband, Blake, on his cell phone. There was no doubt he’d be just as stunned as she was and she couldn’t imagine telling anyone else before telling him, not when this was the one thing he’d been hoping for ever since they married ten years ago.
Kennedi hurried into the kitchen, picked up the cordless phone and dialed Blake’s number. It rang four times before going into voicemail, and she wondered why he wasn’t answering. He’d left for the health club more than two hours ago, but normally he only worked out for about an hour, meaning he should have been on his way home by now.
Still, she left him a brief message.
“Hi honey, it’s me. I have something really, really important to tell you, so call me as soon as you get this, okay? Love you.”
She ended the call but took the phone with her and headed back into the family room. She hoped he would return her call pretty quickly because for some reason, she was finally starting to feel truly excited. She was starting to feel a lot happier as the seconds continued on, and now she couldn’t wait to tell him everything. As a matter of fact, she was now so blissfully beside herself and so dying to tell someone that she considered calling her best friend, Patrice. And she would have, except she knew Blake would be livid if he learned he hadn’t been told first, so instead, she dialed his number again, and again, and again. However, it was all to no avail, and she was starting to get worried. Either that or her nerves were simply getting the best of her. She wasn’t sure which it was, but she knew she needed to try and calm down. She needed to focus on something totally unrelated to this remarkable news she suddenly couldn’t stop smiling about.
Kennedi walked back into the kitchen again, pulled a glass from the cupboard, pressed it against the ice dispenser inside the refrigerator door until seven or eight cubes fell inside and then she sat it down on the granite island. Next, she opened the refrigerator, removed a pitcher of red grapefruit Crystal Light and filled her glass to the brim. She loved this flavor and besides the FDA’s recommended eight glasses of water, she hardly drank anything else. She did have an occasional caffeine-free soda every now and then, but never more than a couple times per month, thanks to the pact she and her mom had made a few years ago. They’d both agreed to no longer indulge in caffeinated drinks altogether and to only drink carbonated drinks once in a while, but this was only after her mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer and Kennedi had read an article stating that caffeine had been suggested as a possible risk factor for her mom’s illness. Needless to say, her mom had given up her daily-before-work vanilla latte from Starbucks almost immediately and unlike Kennedi, she’d even given up drinks that contained artificial sweeteners. She’d quickly begun taking every precaution she could, trying her best to combat the horrible disease that was attacking her.
But sadly, in the end, none of her new health-conscious efforts, the removal of both of her breasts, chemotherapy or radiation had been enough. The doctors had done all they could do and actually for about a year or more, she’d remained in remission. That is until six months ago when she’d slipped back out of it and then passed away three months later.
Now, Kennedi was looking through the patio doors in tears. She wasn’t weeping uncontrollably, the way she had the entire first month after her mom’s funeral, but right now she would do anything, anything at all, to see her again. She’d do anything to have her back with her, even if only for a few minutes, because she missed her terribly. She missed the woman who would give her last dollar if it meant helping someone else.
Although, as an only child, Kennedi couldn’t thank God enough for allowing her the chance to take care of her mom. At first, she hadn’t known what she was going to do, but Blake had made it clear that it was more than okay for her to take a leave of absence from work so she could spend as much time with her mom as possible. Needless to say, this was exactly what Kennedi had been hoping she could do, but she’d worried about their finances. She’d worried that, for the first time since they’d gotten married, they wouldn’t be able to pay their bills on time. But Blake had promised her they would be fine. He’d told her that they wouldn’t be able to spend money on unnecessary items, but that they also wouldn’t end up with credit problems either. He’d told her that he loved his mother-in-law no differently than if she’d been his own mother and that allowing Kennedi to take a leave without pay was the very least he could do. He’d insisted that living without two incomes was a sacrifice he had no problem making, and Kennedi loved him so much for what he’d done. She loved him because not every husband would have made such a loving and very selfless offer.
Kennedi wiped the wetness from both sides of her face but the tears kept flowing. Oh how she wished her mom was still here so she could witness the blessing she and Blake were about to have bestowed upon them. She could practically hear her mother screaming with great joy and what comforted Kennedi was the fact that her mother would always remain cozily in her heart, that her soul was alive and well and that knowing her, she was probably already moseying around in heaven, telling everyone who would listen about the good news.
Kennedi sniffled and wiped her eyes but then she smiled when she saw the door opening. She hadn’t even heard Blake drive into the garage, probably because she’d been so consumed with thoughts of her mother, but she was so glad he’d finally made it home.
“Why didn’t you call me back?” she asked, walking toward her tall, muscular, exceptionally handsome husband.
“Actually, I didn’t even think to check my phone.”
“Well, you need to sit down for this one because you’ll never believe what I have to tell you. It’s the best news ever.”
“That’s fine, but there’s something I need to tell you first.”
“But this can’t wait,” she declared excitedly.
“Kennedi, please,” he said, locking both his hands together just in front of his chest. “Please, just sit down before I lose my nerve.”
Kennedi didn’t like the sound of his voice or the look on his face and suddenly, he was scaring her. “Blake, what is it?”
He sat down at the island, across from where she was standing. “Please just have a seat.”
This time, Kennedi did what he asked. She gave him her undivided attention but Blake sighed pretty loudly.
“It’s taken me two weeks just to build up enough courage to do this, and I just can’t delay it any longer. I’ve waited too long as it is.”
Kennedi tried to stay positive but she didn’t know what she was going to do if something was wrong with Blake. He’d gone for his yearly physical maybe a month ago and now she worried that when he’d told her all of his lab results were fine, he hadn’t told her the truth. She worried that some major illness had stricken him, and that she was about to lose him.
Blake looked at her and then sighed again. “Okay, the thing is this. I haven’t loved you for almost two years now, I’ve been seeing someone else the entire time, I’m in love with her, and…I want a divorce.”
Kennedi stared at Blake in a staggered yet deranged sort of way. She did this because, clearly, there was no way she’d heard him correctly. “What did you say?”
“I don’t love you anymore, I haven’t for a long time, and I want a divorce.”
These particular words were a bit different from the words he’d spoken the first time around, at least she thought they were, but still they basically meant the same thing. They meant he wanted out of the marriage and wanted nothing more to do with her. And had he truly said he’d been seeing someone else for almost two years?
“Kennedi, I’m really, really sorry about this,” she heard him say but the rest of what he’d said was a total blur. She could hear him speaking but she couldn’t make out what he was actually saying. It was as if she’d entered into oblivion and couldn’t snap herself out of it.
But then she heard her name being called repeatedly and realized she’d only been dreaming. She realized that she’d merely been having a nightmare, and she was glad it was over with.
“I’m hoping we can handle all of this like two mature adults because it’ll make the entire process a whole lot easier.”
“Oh my God,” Kennedi thought. She hadn’t been dreaming at all, and Blake seemed more serious now than she’d ever seen him.
“Who is she?” Kennedi finally asked, her heart beating rapidly.
“I don’t think that really matters.”
“And why is that?”
“Because it just doesn’t.”
“Well, it does to me. As a matter of fact, I think it means a whole lot.”
“I disagree. Especially, since she has nothing to do with our situation.”
Kennedi frowned. “Excuse me?”
“Look, I’ve told you how I feel and if it’s any consolation, I didn’t go looking for this. It was never my plan to have an affair but once it started, I couldn’t stop it. I tried, but the more time went on, the more I fell in love with her.”
“I don’t believe this is happening.”
“In all honesty, I wanted to tell you a few months ago.”
“Oh really? And is there some great reason why you didn’t?”
“Yes. Your mom.”
“My mom knew about this?” Kennedi said, raising her voice.
“No. Of course not. But when the doctors gave her only a few months to live, I just couldn’t burden you with all of this. I knew she was going to die, and I figured it was best if I just waited until afterward.”
“Well, how wonderfully considerate of you.”
“There’s something else you should know,” he pronounced without delay.
“And what is that?”
“I’m moving out this evening.”
Kennedi’s heart skipped a beat, and her body went numb.
“I’m sorry, but I’m now to the point where I can’t stand being without her.”
“Wow. This is totally and ridiculously inconceivable. I mean, I just can’t believe you’re doing this. Not after all the years we’ve been together. Not after all the love we’ve shared since the day we met.”
“Will you stop saying that!” Kennedi screamed and then stood up.
“Fine,” he said and then got up himself. “If that’s the way you want it. Fine.”
“It is because the more you keep apologizing, the more disgusted I’m becoming. The more I want to pay you back in a way I’ll surely end up regretting.”
Blake looked at her for more than a few seconds and shook his head. “I think it’s best that I just get my things and go.”
Kennedi gazed at him in silence, and he finally left the room. But when he did, all she could think about was how he’d never even given her the chance to tell him her good news. He’d never given her one opportunity to tell him that, yesterday, she’d played the multi-state Mega Millions game…that today she’d checked the newspaper…and learned she had every single number.
He’d never given her a chance to tell him that this week’s jackpot was fifty million dollars.
1. Before reading the last few lines of the first chapter, what did you think Kennedi’s surprise news was going to be? What type of news did you think Blake had for her?
2. Have you ever been told by a husband or boyfriend that he was cheating on you and if so, in what ways did you react to the situation? How do you think a person should respond when this happens—end the relationship or forgive and move on?
3. When Kennedi and Patrice see Blake and Serena at the restaurant having lunch, were you satisfied with the way she confronted them? Why or why not? How would you have handled the situation?
4. After a short time passes, Kennedi realizes that Blake may not have used protection and that she has no choice but to get an H.I.V. test. Do you believe the rate of unprotected sex will ever decrease? If not, why do you think people continue to be so careless?
5. With Kennedi being a decent woman who loved her husband, why do you think Blake decided she wasn’t enough for him? Do you think Kennedi contributed to Blake’s philandering, and if so, how? In a situation like this, do you think the fault is that of one person alone or do you believe there are always two sides to every story?
6. What is the first thing you would do if you won millions of dollars? Would you share it with relatives and/or friends? What are some of the fun things you would do to enjoy yourself?
7. At this very moment, are you blessed enough to have a best friend like Patrice, one who will stand by you during both good and not so happy times? How much of your lottery winnings would you give her or him?
8. Matthew 19:24 says “And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” So, do you believe Kennedi and her accountant fall into this category (even though, they tithe at their churches and help those who are less fortunate than they are) or do you believe being wealthy is fine as long as you are constantly helping others? Why?
9. Did you feel that Blake was entitled to any of the winnings whatsoever? If so, please explain why?
10. Did you like Miles from the very beginning or did you suspect he had ulterior motives? If so, what did you think those motives might be?
11. Were you shocked to find out who was betraying Kennedi’s trust? Have you ever had family members, friends, or acquaintances betray you in a very painful way, specifically because of greed? What else can sometimes cause people close to you to act so deceitfully?
12. Were you happy that Blake’s whole blackmail scheme basically blew up in his face? Were you satisfied with the way things turned out for Kennedi?