“Wow! You got yourself some boulders there, little man,” Gene told his nephew as the child continued to flex his muscles in deep concentration. “Yep. Two huge boulders.” He tapped on Lanchester’s biceps as if they were solid rocks.
Lanchester broke form and smiled. “I’m strong,” he said proudly, looking cuter than ever in the navy suit and white shirt his mother picked out for him.
“Yes, you are,” Lance agreed, moving to feel his son’s biceps for himself.
“Do you think you’re strong enough to help Mommy carry some napkins and paper cups to that long table over there?” Lavender asked. She pointed to where her other sister Avery and their mother were organizing food chafers on buffet tables.
Speaking of Roberta, she cooked all of tonight’s food at her restaurant. However, she didn’t have to decorate the banquet hall alone. The whole Rozier/Waldenhall family helped with that task, including Gene.
“Yes, I’m strong enough for anything,” the articulate child told his mother. “See you later, Uncle Gene, Daddy. I got to be strong for Mommy now.”
Lance smiled at those words. “He’s going to be a great big brother,” he said, watching his wife and son trot off together. In the distance the DJ announced that this was the last dance for now since the fashion show would begin soon.
Gene’s ear perked up, but not about the DJ announcement. He’d blocked that out in order to listen more closely to his brother-in-law. “Big brother? Does that mean that you and Lavender are…? Again?” His chestnut eyes were wide. His smile was, too.
They ain’t wasting no time now, Gene thought with amusement. He remembered how many fiery trials Lance and Lavender had to walk through just to be together. One trial even resulted in a life or death situation. Fortunately, Lance and Lavender survived every obstacle put in their way. Their love was deeper for it.
A sheepish grin spread across Lance’s face. He looked around to make sure no one else overheard his slip of tongue before facing Gene again. “Yep, you’re the first to know. We got it confirmed yesterday at the health center. We were going to announce it later,” he said in a lower voice.
The health center Lance spoke of was the one his sisters (Latisa – OB/GYN, and Arnita – internal medicine) opened several years ago to help women stay healthy and strong. An added blessing was the fact that Latisa and Arnita married doctors who also shared in their practice.
“Congratulations, man. I’m happy for you.” Gene shook his brother-in-law’s hand again. “And don’t worry, I’ll keep it on lockdown until you make your big announcement tonight,” he added, bringing his voice down several notches, too.
“Thanks, little brother,” Lance concluded just as another one of their brother-in-laws joined them. This one was Skyler aka Skeet.
Skeet was Avery’s husband and also Lance’s cousin. They were cousins on their mothers’ side which meant that Skeet was also half Hispanic/half African-American. The only missing brother-in-law now was Carlton. He was currently on his way from the airport with Gene’s twin sister, Geanette.
Carlton, who used to look like Steve Urkel a few years back, had evolved into a mature Stefan Ur’kel persona. That change has garnered him an increase in female attention lately. Fortunately, Carlton was not a stupid man. He quickly recognized the shallowness of this newfound attention and thus remained true to his beautiful and loyal wife, who’d seen suaveness in him when no one else could. In fact, Carlton was more in love with Geanette than ever.
“By the way, how’s your love life going? Thinking of settling down anytime soon?” Lance asked Gene after they both shook hands in greeting with Skeet.
Lance and Lavender were actively believing God for Gene to change his womanizing ways. He’d made so many other important strides in the right direction, they figured why not pray for Gene to go all the way in righteousness.
Gene scoffed at Lance’s question and laughed. “Settling down? No way. There are still too many women out there that I haven’t met yet. Besides, how can a man know which one to settle down with when they are all so beautiful and fine?”
As Gene talked, he failed to notice that Kylisha and Arnaz were among the crowd who’d come to get refreshing drinks after the last dance ended. That Kylisha was now within hearing distance of him and had heard every word he just said.
If only Gene had turned around. He would have seen Kylisha frown her displeasure at his words. He would have also seen Arnaz promptly usher her away from him. Finally, Gene would have known that he’d just lost a lot of ground with the woman of his current desire.
Meanwhile, Skeet took the initiative to answer Gene’s question. “That’s simple, man. You’ll know which one to settle down with when the woman’s beauty and body are not the most important things to you. When getting to know who she is on the inside takes precedence over everything else, including getting into her pants.”
Lance agreed with his brother-in-law/cousin’s comments. “Listen to the man, Gene. As an ex-player, Skeet should know.” Then he decided to add something extra to the pot in order to make it a well-rounded stew. “I also believe that just like a person has the innate ability to discern the voice of God, they also have that same ability to discern the voice of their future spouse. As for the woman you’re supposed to marry, there’ll be something in her words, in her tone that will just speak to you deep in your heart and then you’ll know that she’s the one.”
“Now that’s deep,” Gene replied. He wondered if that would ever happen to him on both accounts.
So far Gene hadn’t heard the voice of his future wife in any of the women he’d dated. As for the voice of God, unless one counted the words of wisdom that constantly visited his mind from things Grandma Janelle said over the years, then Gene would have to say that he hadn’t heard the voice of God yet, either.
“I guess that’s what happened to you guys with my sisters, huh?” Gene asked his brother-in-laws.
“Bet,” Lance and Skeet echoed simultaneously with wide smiles on their faces.
* * *
After excusing herself from Arnaz, Kylisha made her way to the ladies room. An overwhelming sense of disappointment weighed on her heart from the things she overheard from Gene. Though she expected distasteful things like that to come out of any womanizer’s mouth, she hadn’t expected to feel so depressed when Gene said them.
Having seen the other side of him whenever he was around any member of his family, particularly the little kids, Kylisha made herself believe that Gene wasn’t as bad as he seemed. That there was still hope for him. Not with her, mind you, but with some lucky woman.
Luck? There is no such thing as luck, Kylisha mused, catching herself from adopting the mindset of the world. In her heart, she knew better.
In her heart, Kylisha knew that destiny demolished the very notion of luck, chance, and happenstance. She also knew that she shouldn’t be in here worrying about something and or rather someone who won’t ever be anything more than a boss to her.
When Kylisha left the bathroom, she returned to Arnaz’s side and stayed there for the rest of the evening. She didn’t protest when he started to behave as if they were a couple or soon would be. It certainly kept Gene away. However, it did not keep his eyes from boring into hers from a distance.
When Kylisha finally made it home, her feet were hurting and she was emotionally drained. As a result, she fell asleep within a few short minutes.
* * *
On another part of town, Gene couldn’t go to sleep for anything. He tossed and turned all night. When he closed his eyes, two different sets of images flashed in his mind. The first set was of Kylisha dancing with Arnaz, sitting close to Arnaz, and hugging Arnaz goodbye for the evening.
The second set started out wholesome, but ended up much racier. They involved Kylisha dancing in Gene’s arms, snuggling against Gene’s chest, and finally…calling out Gene’s name in the throes of passion.
I got to get this woman, Gene mused as he rose from his bed to take a cold shower.
© 2006 by Suprina Frazier
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