When the phone on Kylisha’s desk rang, the spell Gene had on her was broken. Blinking rapidly, she got up to answer the call, inadvertently leaving her legal pad behind in the chair.
Mitch used that time to say three words to his stepson. “She’s off limits.” He spoke in a lowered tone.
Gene’s nostrils instantly flared. “Why, Daddy Mitch?” He spoke just as low.
“You’re not ready yet,” Mitch replied. “Plus, it’s too risky for business.”
“You didn’t seem to mind the prospect of her and Arnaz.” Gene looked hurt.
“He’s ready and he’s not her boss,” Mitch replied, endeavoring to be as honest as always with his stepson.
Just then, Kylisha returned to the office. “It was a wrong number,” she said, heading for her legal pad.
A serious faced Gene walked past her and out of the office without a word.
Kylisha looked from Gene’s departing back to Mitch, who looked equally somber. “Did I miss something?”
“Difference of opinions, that’s all,” Mitch told her. “We’ll work it out later like always.” Then he changed the subject altogether. “Did you get all of your questions answered before?”
“All my garbage-collecting questions, yes. But there is one question I’ve been meaning to ask you ever since I started working here,” Kylisha replied, choosing to accept this subject change.
“Shoot away.” Mitch got comfortable in his chair.
“Why did you choose this field when you have two college degrees? When you could have gone out and done almost anything else?” Kylisha pointed to the framed bachelor and master’s degrees on the wall behind his head.
Mitch smiled. “My father always taught me to follow my heart. And ever since I could remember, I’ve always loved garbage trucks.”
“A lot of little boys do.” Kylisha recalled Keon’s son constantly playing with a toy garbage truck during her visit with them.
“When I was a little boy they had both side-loading and rear-loading trucks,” Mitch said reflectively. “My absolute favorite was the rear-loader. I was always captivated by how it used to gobble up just about anything that was placed in its hopper. In fact, I was known to follow a garbage truck or two around in my neighborhood just to see it work its magic. To this day, I still love watching them.”
Kylisha’s brows rose in realization. “Ah. No wonder you’re always at your office window the same time every morning and afternoon. You’re watching the trucks come and go, aren’t you?”
“Exactly.” Mitch grinned. “During the summer months of my youth, the sound of a garbage truck was like an alarm clock or a calling card for me. While other kids chased the ice cream truck, I was busy chasing rear-loaders. I could even tolerate the smell of the vehicle, which my mother thought was absolutely weird.”
Mitch and Kylisha both laughed at that.
“Sounds to me like going your own way worked out pretty well for you,” Kylisha said.
Mitch nodded. “Yes, it did, thanks to the help of some wonderful people like yourself.”
“I hope veering from the norm will work out just as well for me.”
Mitch frowned. “Is that your way of saying you’re going to be leaving us soon, Kylisha?” He sat straighter in his chair.
“Not soon, sir, but eventually. I plan to start my own clerical employment agency within the next five years,” she replied honestly.
“Thank God.” Mitch let out a breath of relief and relaxed again. “In that case, let me impart some wisdom into you. Start by writing your vision down. Tape it on a wall somewhere in your house so you can see it everyday. It’ll keep you focused on your goal. Then every day make an effort towards that goal. Baby steps count as progress, too, so don’t despise the days of small beginnings. Finally, remember that setbacks are simply opportunities to grow. Keep moving until you’ve brought that vision to pass.”
“Point well-spoken and well-taken, sir. Thanks for the advice.” Kylisha smiled her gratitude.
“Any time. By the way, are you still coming to Bible study tonight?” Mitch asked as she turned to leave.
“Yes, Arnaz is, too. He’s going home to change first. Then he’s coming back here to follow me in his car. He doesn’t know how to get to your church on his own.”
Mitch nodded in approval. “Great. The more, the merrier.”
“Exactly. Thanks again, sir.” Kylisha waved goodbye on her way out the office. She had a little extra pep in her step thanks to Mitch’s story and sage advice. She couldn’t wait to follow that advice. But first Kylisha needed to type a rough draft of the garbage collection booklet.
* * *
Gene stayed in his office until he was sure Mitch had left for Bible study. He didn’t want to see his stepfather right now. He didn’t really want to see anybody. Gene didn’t want or need any reminders that he wasn’t good enough for the woman he wanted. He already knew that.
“Kylisha,” Gene whispered, wrapping his tongue around her delicious name. He stared out into the darkness from his office window, wishing he could wrap his tongue around something else. Anything else on Kylisha’s body. Just the thought of doing so stirred his lower body to life, resurrected his libido from the dead.
Closing his eyes, Gene said her name again. This time slightly louder as he would if he was making love to her right now. “Kylisha.”
“Yes, Mr. Waldenhall?” a sweet voice suddenly said from behind him.
Gene pivoted around to face the woman in the doorway. “Kylisha…” He paused to swallow over the emotional lump in his throat. He could kick himself for leaving the door ajar.
“Yes?” Kylisha opened the door wider and came into the office.
“I…thought everybody was gone.” Gene stared at her like a lost puppy. He couldn’t help it. He felt lost, in need of rescuing.
“I stayed over to fine tune that booklet we talked about earlier.” Kylisha left out the fact that she was also waiting around for Arnaz. “Are you all right, Gene?” she asked, concern causing her to use his first name. She came a little closer.
At the sound of his name on her lips, Gene felt his restraint quickly unraveling. Words tumbled from the depths of his soul. “I will be, once I kiss your lips again.” His voice was raspy and thick with emotion.
Kylisha’s eyes bucked. Shock, then desire ricocheted throughout her body. “I…”
“Forget I said anything,” Gene interrupted, turning back towards the window. He was entirely too vulnerable right now to hear another one of her rejections. He had to cut her off. He had to turn away. He also had to get rid of her before he lost every ounce of restraint he had left.
“Goodnight, Kylisha,” Gene forced out when everything in him wanted to beg her to stay.
Silence met Gene from the rear for the longest time. Then the strangest thing happened. Instead of hearing footsteps move towards the door, he heard footsteps coming towards him.
Gene’s head swung around. “Kylisha?”
“Maybe one kiss won’t hurt,” she said with desire blazing in her eyes.
Gene practically yanked Kylisha towards him for the longest kiss he’d ever given any woman. The more he kissed her, the more he knew she was the one. Every cell in his body was at attention and the word impotent was forever flushed out of his vocabulary. Gene literally ached with pulsating desire now.
Wanting Kylisha to feel his desire, he cupped her bottom and drew her closer with a firm squeeze. They both moaned from the intimate contact. This mild May evening had just gotten scorching hot.
Just then, the front door of the building opened. “Kylisha, are you back there? It’s almost time for Bible study.” It was Arnaz.
© 2006 by Suprina Frazier
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