Gene didn’t get to talk with Deshawn until Sunday evening after dinner. Though he could have spoken with her over the phone, he made himself wait until she returned to town instead. Gene wanted to have this particular conversation in person…and alone, which is why he pulled Deshawn away from the rest of the family upstairs.
“So what did you want to talk to me about?” Deshawn asked once they were settled on two benches in her basement sewing room.
“Kylisha and Arnaz.”
Deshawn vigorously shook her head. “Conversation over.” She rose to leave.
“C’mon, don’t be that way, Deshawn. I’m in love with her.” Gene reached for her arm to halt her hasty departure.
“Love?” Deshawn scoffed. “What do you know about being in love with anybody?” Doubt saturated her mahogany face. However, she did sit back down to hear him out.
“I know I love Kylisha,” Gene replied, releasing her arm. “What I don’t know is how she feels about me…and Arnaz. I need you to tell me that, Deshawn. Please, baby sis, help a brother out. Please.”
Deshawn’s chestnut eyes widened in amazement at Gene’s tormented expression. She cocked her head to the side in deep thought as she studied him for a few more seconds. “You really do love her, don’t you?” Deshawn said, noting his glossy eyes. She lifted a manicured hand to his contrite face in comfort.
Gene swallowed over the emotional lump in his throat. “Yes,” he replied hoarsely.
Deshawn’s eyes grew glossy now. His sincerity was really pulling on her heartstrings. “All right, but I can only tell you the basics. Kylisha’s one of my best friends now, so I can’t betray her confidence and tell you things she wouldn’t want you to know.” Things like the fact that Kylisha was deeply in love with Gene, too, but was fighting it because she wanted a man with an unblemished past.
“Just tell me whatever you can,” Gene said eagerly, after clearing his throat. His face was filled with anticipation. His eyes were lit with candles of hope. The man was definitely in love.
“Okay, so far it seems that Arnaz likes Kylisha way more than she likes him,” Deshawn began.
“Good.” Gene smiled. He felt lighter already.
“Don’t get your hopes up too high,” Deshawn cautioned. “All that can easily change tomorrow. After all, they do spend a lot of time together. My advice is, if you really want Kylisha, you better do something outstanding. Not too many women are willing to turn down a good Christian man like Arnaz for a known playboy like you. No disrespect intended, big brother.”
“None taken.” Gene nodded in understanding. “I know I’m working from a point of disadvantage here. But I’m determined to do everything I can to turn that around. Kylisha’s my woman. I know it in here,” he said, pointing to his heart. “And because I know it in here, I’m going to keep trying until she bears my last name.”
“Well, alrighty then.” Deshawn giggled with delight. “I’d love to have Kylisha as a sister-in-law. She’s almost like family now.”
“I know. I just need to make it official.” A smiling Gene rose to his feet, pulling Deshawn up with him. “Thanks a lot, baby sis. I’ll never forget this.”
“You’re weeeeee!” Deshawn squealed as he picked her up in a big bear hug and twirled her around.
After putting Deshawn back on her feet, Gene planted a tender kiss on her forehead and left for his home. He had a lot to think about tonight. He needed to be alone to do so.
* * *
Gene woke up extra early the next morning. As soon as he opened his eyes, he knew exactly what he needed to do about this Kylisha situation. But in order to pull it off successfully, he was going to need more time.
Reaching for the phone, Gene called his stepfather. “Hello, Daddy Mitch. I’m just calling to tell you that I’m taking a personal day today.”
“Is anything wrong?” Mitch asked, noting the hour on the bedside clock. It was barely 5am.
“No, everything’s finally right.” Gene smiled, his mind working a mile a minute.
© 2006 by Suprina Frazier
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