Using the time away from Kylisha to get himself back on track, Gene went to socialize with some of his late arriving relatives. If he’d learned nothing else over the last three years, it was when to exercise a little patience. It was either that or risk offending Kylisha with a jealous outbreak against Arnaz.
Spotting his oldest sister and her husband, Gene walked towards the buffet table area. Lavender and Lance were visiting from Kramell, a neighboring city of Marvelston. Their one-year-old son Lanchester was with them. Actually, Lanchester was “a year and four months, but who’s counting?” as Lavender would say.
Gene received an affectionate hug from his sister as soon as she was close enough to give him one. “Hey, little brother,” Lavender said, though he was only little to her in age. At 6’3, Gene towered over her 5’5 frame.
“Hey yourself, big sis,” Gene replied, giving her a warm squeeze in return. As usual, Lavender was dressed stylishly along the color tone for which she was so named. This time she wore a white lace pantsuit with lavender sequins on the waist, arm, and leg hems.
“What’s up, Lance? Little man?” Gene said, extending his greeting to his brother-in-law and nephew respectively as Lavender released him to socialize with her menfolk.
“What’s up, little brother,” Lance said, receiving the handshake and brotherly hug Gene offered him. Like many of the other men in attendance, the brothers-in-law wore black suits with white dress shirts.
Lanchester, who was now walking on his own, held up both arms. “Up, Uncle Gene,” he said, making his usual request.
A smiling Gene refused to disappoint his nephew. “Whoa,” he said, lifting the solid child into his arms. “Have you been working out with your daddy? I think I feel two big muscles in these arms.”
“I work out with Daddy all the time.” Lanchester smiled wide, looking just like his half-Hispanic father. They both had dark chocolate eyes and dark curly hair that felt like the finest silk. Lanchester had Lavender’s mahogany complexion, which made him look almost Middle Eastern in appearance.
“Oh really? Make a muscle for me.” Gene winked at his sister as he returned Lanchester to his feet.
Lavender smiled and shook her head. She was used to her brother’s shenanigans.
With thoughts of Kylisha pushed to the back of his mind for the moment, Gene proceeded to watch his nephew attempt to look like one of the body builders they often watched on television. Gene’s eyes danced with mirth as Lanchester’s angelic face grew very intense in concentration of his task.
* * *
Across the room, Kylisha continued to dance with Arnaz, yet her eyes continued to watch Gene interact with his family. It was easy to do so since Arnaz preferred to dance on the outskirts of the dance floor, not right in the thick of things like Gene had done.
“You know, you really do look beautiful tonight,” Arnaz said, discussing the change in her appearance once again as they proceeded to dance on yet another song.
“Thanks,” Kylisha replied, giving him the same response as before. It amazed her that Arnaz couldn’t seem to stop talking about her new look. Gene hadn’t said anything about the change in her appearance during their dance. Rather he’d shown his appreciation through his eyes…and the tender way he’d held her.
“Unfortunately, some people might see the change in you as a sign that you’ve changed in other ways,” Arnaz said, dancing around what he really wanted to say. “But I know you’re the same wholesome Kylisha that you’ve always been.” He withdrew to look into her eyes. “I can see it in your beautiful eyes.”
Kylisha’s cheeks grew red from ire and embarrassment. “Of course I’m the same person. No makeover is ever going to change that.”
“Good.” Arnaz exhaled a breath that sounded a lot like relief before drawing her towards him again.
No man is going to change who I am either, Kylisha added silently, forcing herself not to look in Gene’s direction again.
© 2006 by Suprina Frazier
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