Elaine’s time at Ebony indeed offered opportunities that an Essence intern would have only dreamed of. For years, Ebony had stagnated. But with Harriette at the helm, it began to take a fresh new direction. Elaine, having just landed in New York City, was in for a thrilling ride. Cover followed exciting cover. After Serena Williams, there was Michelle Obama, in her first cover appearance. After that, Beyoncé, Michael Jackson, Prince and Barack Obama. But in business, everyone is disposable. Elaine hadn’t been at Ebony long when Harriette was unexpectedly compelled to depart. By this point, Elaine was part of the Ebony family, and, at Harriette’s encouragement, she decided to stay on until she got a title promotion. Elaine worked hard, essentially shouldering the responsibilities of the entire beauty department, and, soon enough, she was named beauty and style editor. Meanwhile, a new man had come into her life. Let’s call him Future Husband. Since the heartbreak of First Love, Elaine had avoided serious dating. She wasn’t going to commit unless she found The One. Future Husband seemed to fit the bill. They met shortly before her 23rd birthday. It was early December, and Elaine was at a party in Midtown West, hosted in a gorgeous apartment overlooking the Hudson River. The host approached her at the end of the night. He was handsome, with an athletic build, and instead of writing down her number, he memorized it immediately. By January, she had keys to his apartment. In February, for Valentine’s Day, he gave her a pair of diamond earrings. But this lavish gift was also a red flag. The thing is, Elaine didn’t really like large hoop earrings covered in diamonds – but still, they were diamonds, so she reacted with the requisite squeals and wide-eyed gratitude. The next day, Future Husband voiced his displeasure. She hadn’t tried the earrings on, he said angrily. He’d designed them, and she didn’t even like them? Elaine was taken aback. Why was he so upset? Deep down, she felt that something was wrong. Looking back, Elaine wishes that she’d learned to trust her gut feelings. Too many women, herself included, have been trained to will warning signs away. From the outside, everything looked picture perfect. Elaine was young, successful and dating the man of her dreams. But behind that polished exterior, Elaine was in turmoil – not only romantically, but also professionally.