Though Skeet picked up on Gene’s attraction to Kylisha a long time ago, he had no idea she shared that attraction. In fact, all during their meal Kylisha kept looking at Gene like he was breakfast, completely ignoring the food on her plate.
Gene hadn’t touched much on his plate either. He seemed to be sustained by whatever was going on silently between him and Kylisha across the small table.
How come I never noticed this before? Skeet thought, having the same reaction Mitch had when he discovered this hidden truth.
The reason it had been so difficult for people to notice Kylisha’s feelings for Gene was simply a matter of quantity. The more people around, the easier it was for her to hide her feelings. The less people around, the harder it was…with the exception of Gene’s very perceptive grandmother.
“Gene, how long do you think it’ll be before Deshawn and Foster get married?” Skeet began, coming up with a plan to help his brother-in-law out.
Gene shrugged. “I don’t know. They seem pretty in love to me. I wouldn’t be surprised if they eloped and just told us about it later like you and Avery did.”
Skeet grinned. “When love comes on you that strong, it’s hard to wait.” He turned to Kylisha. “Don’t you agree?”
Kylisha paused from her orange juice. “I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been in love before.”
“Never?” Skeet asked.
Kylisha shook her head. “Never.” She put down the cup in her hand as things suddenly got very serious at the table.
“Do you ever want to fall in love?” Skeet asked. Beside him Gene was practically holding his breath.
Kylisha paused for a moment to think. “A few months ago, the answer would have been no. Now I think I might want to fall in love, get married, and start a family,” she said, careful not to look Gene’s way. Her cheeks started to deepen in color by degrees.
Skeet smiled with satisfaction. They were halfway there.
Beside him, Gene released his breath slowly. He gave Skeet a grateful look and a nod, urging him to continue on this path.
“Well, in order to do all that, you at least have to start dating. Are you dating anyone, Kylisha? Or at least open to that prospect?” Skeet asked.
Gene started holding his breath again.
Kylisha’s cheeks were crimson now. “Yes,” she replied quietly, looking down at her plate.
“What?!” Gene roared, instantly drawing the attention of the other café patrons. Quickly realizing where he was, he reduced the volume of his voice. “Who are you dating, Kylisha?” he asked. His jaws were clenched so tight that it looked like it hurt to say every word. It did, deep down in his soul.
“Arnaz,” Kylisha replied, forcing herself to meet Gene’s gaze.
Squeezing the orange juice cup in one hand, Gene gripped the side of the table with the other. Skeet thought he was going to rip a chunk out of the wood. He’d never seen his brother-in-law so angry before. Nor so…wounded. Now Skeet wished he’d never started this conversation.
Finally releasing the table and the cup, Gene snatched a wad of bills from his wallet, threw them on the table, got up and left without another word to anyone.
“I’m sorry, Kylisha,” Skeet said, standing to his feet, as well. There was no need to pull cash out of his wallet. Breakfast was supposed to be on Kylisha, but Gene had put enough money on the table to pay for everybody’s meal in the whole restaurant.
“There’s nothing to apologize for,” Kylisha squeezed out, looking just as devastated and as heartbroken as Gene. “I made the best choice for my life.”
Skeet stared at her intently for a moment. “Are you sure about that, Kylisha? Last time I checked, best and safe were two different things.” Then after giving her a sad nod of farewell, he went in pursuit of his brother-in-law.
© 2006 by Suprina Frazier
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