A month later
With his office door closed, Gene opened the brown envelope marked ‘miscellaneous calls’ and checked the personal messages he’d gotten since lunchtime. A frown instantly creased his brow when he discovered that ten of those messages were from the same woman – Gloreatha Porters.
Gene was tired of Gloreatha already and they’d only been dating for a month. She officially wore out her welcome last night when she made the mistake of telling him she was falling in love with him. Gene was completely turned off by that declaration. His frown deepened at the memory of it now.
Nobody falls in and out of love that quickly, Gene mused, filled with disbelief. Just four weeks ago Gloreatha was on the rebound from another man she thought she loved.
Gene balled up Gloreatha’s messages one by one. Then he threw the yellow wads in the trashcan by the door, one at time, as if he was shooting hoops on a basketball court. They all went in, revealing his mastery of the sport. There were few physical activities Gene wasn’t good at.
As Gene threw the last message into the trash, his mind churned with possibilities. He was trying to think of the best way to break up with Gloreatha before she got even more serious about him.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first woman Gene had broken up with at the I-love-you stage. In fact, whenever his relationships got to this point, he found himself ready to call it quits. Gene didn’t want any woman to fall in love with him and vice versa. Falling in lust was good enough for this playboy.
Besides, I got enough women loving me already, Gene mused. He had a grandmother, a mother, four sisters, and a niece to shower him with all the love he needed. What more could a man ask for?
Just then, Kylisha knocked on the door. “Mr. Waldenhall, I have more messages for you.”
Gene instantly sat upright in his chair at the sweet sound of her voice. Before giving Kylisha permission to enter, he paused and gave himself a quick once-over. He’d never done that before, at least not on Kylisha’s behalf. Gene was changing.
Ever since Kylisha drove that garbage truck quite a few things have changed about Gene. For one, he couldn’t seem to stop thinking about her, couldn’t seem to stop wondering if she thought about him, too…on a personal level.
Secondly, gazing into those beautiful green eyes of hers was fast becoming an addiction for him. Five days a week Gene got to partake of their beauty. Five days a week he was mesmerized by them. Gene couldn’t put into words how good it felt just looking at Kylisha’s face. Nor could he explain why.
Now if she’d only give a brother a little something extra to look at, then I’d feel even better, Gene mused in his usual playboy manner. He would love to see Kylisha in something more formfitting, maybe a new hairdo.
No such luck today though.
On that unseasonably warm December day, Kylisha wore a loose-fitting, gold outfit with a bell sleeve top and flowing wide legged pants. Besides her head, neck and hands, not an ounce of her bronze skin was showing. And yet Gene still wanted to see her again.
After making sure his stone-colored shirt and triple-pleated brown trousers were still immaculate, Gene said, “Come in.”
As the doorknob slowly turned, his back became as stiff as a board with anticipation. He couldn’t wait to feast upon the parts of her he could see.
Kylisha breezed into the room with her usual enthusiasm. “Sorry to disturb you, sir, but these just came in for you,” she said, handing Gene more messages. “I wanted to make sure you got them before I left today.”
Gene cocked his head to the side. “You’re leaving early today?” He held up the black dial silver watch on his wrist, drawing attention to his ring-less right hand. The watch said 2pm. They usually didn’t knock off until around six.
Kylisha smiled and shook her head at his selective retention. She’d found a similar trait in most men she knew. “We discussed this earlier in the week, remember? I’m supposed to help your baby sister with tonight’s fashion show.”
“Oh, yeah.” Gene nodded. “I forgot Deshawn was providing tonight’s entertainment. I guess it just slipped my mind.” It had, but it was all coming back to him now.
On Monday, Mitch mentioned that Gene’s youngest sister was having problems finding good behind-the-scenes help for her fashion show. Kylisha overheard the two men talking and promptly volunteered. She even gave them a glimpse into her upbringing by sharing how her grandmother taught her how to cook, sew, and take care of babies because she believed that it made Christian women better wives and mothers.
Gene’s mental block arose as a result of hearing the word ‘wives’. But then again, that word had a tendency to incite amnesia in most playboys.
“So you’ll definitely be at the Christmas party tonight?” Gene continued, soaking up the green in Kylisha’s eyes like a sponge to water.
“Of course…along with the rest of the employees,” she replied, giving him another subtle reminder. They were not going to some hook-up party tonight. Tonight’s event was a company gala that many were bringing their relatives to.
“Are you bringing anyone with you?” Gene probed, holding his breath. Who knew her answer would mean so much to him?
Kylisha shook her head. “No. I’m going stag.” Not only wasn’t she bringing a date tonight, she wasn’t even bringing her grandparents. Truthfully, she hadn’t asked them to attend tonight’s party with her. Kylisha knew they would only decline the invitation anyway, so why bother. Shoot, the Greenes hadn’t even attended her technical school graduation.
Thrilled that she wasn’t bringing a date, Gene flashed her one of his most charming smiles. “Perhaps you’ll save me a dance then.”
Unfortunately for him, Kylisha didn’t seem moved by his charm at all. Her face remained neutral and she kept her gaze on something in the distance, not on him. Gene would have given every dime he had in the bank to know what she was thinking right now. If he knew her thoughts weren’t in his favor he might rescind that offer.
Pretty boy, you are wasting your gorgeous smiles and your precious time on me, Kylisha mused, fighting to keep her expression neutral.
“Perhaps we will share a dance tonight, Mr. Waldenhall,” she said in a crisp tone, not promising anything. “See you later.” Then she turned around and quickly left the room before he could say anything else.
Gene stared after her with a mixture of feelings. On one hand, he felt a touch of rejection at Kylisha’s abrupt departure. On the other, a hint of excitement in knowing that he’d see her later and possibly hold her in his arms tonight.
As Gene pondered what wonders this evening would hold, he failed to realize that part of his excitement stemmed directly from the familiar surge of adrenaline he felt whenever he pursued something new, or rather someone new.
That’s the way it has been with Gene since he was eleven years old.
Age eleven was when his biological father died and the Waldenhall family was thrust into abject poverty. Soon thereafter the young lad became fascinated with trying to recover what he felt he’d lost. Since Gene obviously couldn’t get his father back, he became very materialistic and began to crave everything else. Now not only did Gene always want the next best thing, he always wanted the next new thing, too.
To him, Kylisha Greene was as new as they came. Unfortunately, that meant that Gloreatha Porters was now deemed old. In fact, Gene intended to call her this very afternoon and breakup with her.
With his mind made up about Gloreatha, Gene’s thoughts returned to Kylisha. I should have asked if she bought a new dress for the occasion, he mused, wondering if her after-hours attire was as conservative as her work attire.
She certainly can afford a new dress, Gene thought, reminded of Kylisha’s month old raise and the fact that she still lived with her prosperous grandparents. The fact that he hadn’t seen her in anything new over the last four weeks only affirmed his belief that she’d been saving her money for something special.
Gene had no idea that that something special was her own place, which she moved into just last week. Kylisha also used part of that raise to pay off the large note on her luxury vehicle since her grandparents collectively refused to give a ‘disobedient’ person like her anything except a place to stay when she returned home from college.
If Gene had known all that, he might have vied for Kylisha an even bigger raise.
* * *
As Kylisha swiftly walked to her desk for her purse, she couldn’t help but be intrigued by Gene’s sudden interest in her. She also wondered why he never wore any flashy jewelry. Most playboys she’d seen had worn at least a pinky ring or a gold necklace.
Maybe he’s different, Kylisha mused, leaning towards giving Gene the benefit of the doubt. Nah, playboys are all the same, she promptly amended as the memory of her father’s shenanigans rose to the surface of her mind in bitter waves.
They’re all the same, Kylisha reiterated, now having second, third, and fourth thoughts about giving Gene that dance he requested.
© 2006 by Suprina Frazier
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