Turning away from Gene, Kylisha moved deep breaths in and out of her body in order to regain some sense of equilibrium. She couldn’t believe she’d just told him one of her deepest, darkest family secrets. And so freely, too.
“I’m so sorry for your loss, Kylisha,” Gene said, running a comforting hand across her back. The tone of his voice was just as soothing.
“Me, too.” She continued to look straight ahead, debating whether or not she should follow her heart and tell him even more secrets. Kylisha needed a sign. Some type of confirmation.
“You don’t have to talk about it, if you don’t want to,” Gene said in that same comforting tone.
And just like that, Kylisha had her confirmation. If Gene cared enough to release her from further painful disclosure, surely she could find enough strength to release herself. Ironically, Kylisha’s release could only come through her lips. In short, she had to open her mouth in order to purge the anguish from her heart.
“No, I need to talk,” Kylisha finally replied, substituting the soda in her hand for the tissue box. She had a feeling she was going to need the latter more. She did.
Kylisha shed more than a few tears as she told Gene how for years her grandparents had her believing that both of her parents died from cancer. How when she finally learned the truth, she kept it and her feelings about her grandparents’ deception bottled up inside…until now.
Kylisha turned to smile at Gene. “With you I don’t feel so bad talking about things like this.”
Gene returned her smile. “I’m glad. Especially since my background is not all that wonderful either.”
Wiping her face free of all tears, Kylisha put the tissue box and all snacks aside. Then she leaned back on the sofa and gave Gene her full attention as he began to share a few things about his own past. She liked how he seasoned his conversation with a mixture of good and bad events to help balance things out.
Gene talked about the ups and downs of being a twin. About the awesome connection he and Geanette had with each other and how they always seemed to know when the other was hurting.
Gene’s eyes grew somber when he talked about his own parents. About how his father was a drug dealer for many years before being sent to jail for his crimes. How his father died in prison and how hard it was to lose him at such a young age.
“When my father died, it threw our whole family out of whack,” Gene continued. “My mother turned to drugs and abandoned us, leaving my oldest sister to keep the family together.”
“Her name is Lavender, right?” Kylisha asked, trying to keep the names of his sisters straight in her head. Gene had four of them, all with completely different personalities.
“Right. She was only fifteen at the time, but she held our household together for two years all by herself.” He looked proud when he said that. “Lavender continued to help raise us even after Grandma came and gained custody of us.”
The things Gene shared explained so much about the interesting dynamics within his family. “No wonder all of you revere her so much. No wonder she and your grandmother are so close,” Kylisha said, thinking out loud.
“Exactly. Lavender deserves the utmost respect for what she did for all of us.” Gene reached up to scratch his outer earlobe, causing the overhead light to hit the face of his watch.
“I agree,” Kylisha replied, noticing the time on Gene’s watch. She couldn’t believe two whole hours had passed by so quickly. It was even more amazing that neither of them seemed ready to leave yet.
“How come you don’t wear any rings?” Kylisha asked, drawing attention to his ringless hands.
Gene looked down at his hands. “I don’t really like a lot of jewelry. Matter of fact, the only ring I’ll ever wear is a wedding band.”
Kylisha looked surprised. “I had no idea you were thinking of settling down one day. You don’t seem like the settling down type.”
Gene gave her an intense look. “You, for one, should know that people aren’t always what they seem, Kylisha. After all, none of us would’ve ever pegged you for a CDL driver, but you were that and so much more.”
He had her there. Kylisha looked down at her own hands in silence. She needed to ponder Gene’s words for awhile and also blink away the desire his intense gaze had stirred within her.
“Betcha didn’t know that I wasn’t college material either,” Gene said, changing the subject again before things got too awkward or intense between them.
Grateful for the subject change, Kylisha returned her gaze to him. “Oh really?”
“Yes. At one point I was even tempted to follow in my father’s footsteps. I was tired of not being able to afford the things I wanted in life.”
Kylisha grew silent again as Gene shared how if it hadn’t been for his brother-in-law Lance reminding him about the consequences of living that kind of lifestyle and encouraging him to use his gift of gab to be successful in a legitimate job, he didn’t know where he’d be today.
“Lance told me to let the only garbage I deal with be the stuff I pick up on the side of the road,” Gene concluded. “I try to practice that motto every day.”
One of Kylisha’s brows rose in curiosity. “Say, isn’t that the same motto on that plaque in your office?” she asked, feeling closer than ever to him right now.
Actually, they were close right now and not just in a figurative way, either. Gene’s left arm was draped comfortably behind Kylisha’s head and their faces were only inches apart at any given time. Yes, they made a very cozy picture indeed right now.
“Yeah, it’s the same motto.” Gene grinned, looking pleased that she remembered his favorite adage. “I mounted it on a plaque to remind myself to keep making good life decisions.”
Kylisha nodded with approval. “Speaking of Lance, isn’t he the brother-in-law that owns the Middleman Youth Intervention Center in town? The same brother-in-law that’s married to Lavender?” She was trying to keep Gene’s in-laws straight in her head, too. For some reason it seemed important to do so.
“Yes on both accounts. As for the Middleman Center, there are two of them now. One in Marvelston and another one in Kramell where Lance and Lavender live,” Gene replied, referring to the centers that helped troubled youths get off the streets and exposed to the abundance of other options awaiting them.
“I’ve heard great things about the center in Marvelston, so I can only imagine what the one in Kramell must be like,” Kylisha said. “By the way, I think Lance and Lavender make such a great couple and they have the cutest little boy.”
Gene nodded in agreement. “My sisters do tend to produce beautiful children,” he replied, including Avery in the equation. After all, she had the first Waldenhall grandchild, Tweety – who was adored by everybody.
“You know, you’re going to make beautiful children someday, too,” Gene added in a whisper. He captured her gaze and held it.
Kylisha blushed, but did not look away. “I look forward to being a mother,” she whispered back. Hot tingles started at her toes and made their way upward. Oh, what a delicious moment.
Licking her lips, Kylisha could almost taste the sweetness in the air. Undoubtedly it was sweeter than the sweetest honey.
Gene’s chestnut pools instantly darkened with desire as they followed the path of her tongue. His breath hitched, held, and then slowly released when that same tongue finally disappeared back into the recess of her mouth.
The heat in Kylisha’s body doubled at his reaction to such a simple deed. A deed that had been done completely without premeditation. A deed that now had Gene’s eyes glued to her soft mouth, causing the heat in her body to triple.
He wants to kiss me, Kylisha mused when their eyes finally met again. Actually it was more like he needed to kiss her. Like the sweet nectar from her lips would somehow feed his soul and nourish his whole body.
Would Gene be bold enough to go after that nectar? Kylisha hoped so.
© 2006 by Suprina Frazier
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