Black Magic - Chapter 3 (Revised)

Chapter 3

            Friday night came around a lot faster than I would have liked.  I had never experienced the end of the week fly by so fast.  It might have been because I had purposely kept myself busy.  I didn’t want to think too much about what was about to happen, and school work was helping tremendously in that regard.  God, I thought my senior year was supposed to be the easiest.  Boy was I wrong on that one.  I had more homework this week than I could remember getting the entire three years prior.  I almost canceled with Bret just for the reason of how much work I had alone.  However, I knew I wasn’t going to get out of that no matter how much I tried.  Besides, I really didn’t want to.  I was actually looking forward to it.  I just wasn’t looking forward to all of the extra stuff, and being so busy with work and school the last day and a half actually made it easy to focus on something else.  Now I was going to have to worry about it, and I made the decision to just go with it. 

            I had started my time after getting home from school by taking a much needed nap because of the last few late nights that I had.  There were no crazy dreams or anything that was out of the ordinary.  Everything was going as it should have been, normal.  I had awakened with about two hours to spare before Bret was supposed to be arriving, and I took my time getting ready.  It was actually plenty of time.  I had planned out earlier in the week what I was going to wear, and I didn’t buy anything new to be impressive.  I had a pretty large wardrobe, so I had a lot of things that I could mix and match.  Of course, after I put on what I had decided to wear, I went and checked it out in the mirror before I did my hair.  There have been many times that I had thought of an outfit and it looked good in my head, but the moment that I saw it on me in the mirror, I would cringe, and change.  I didn’t want to have to do my hair twice.  That would have been way too much work.  After I was satisfied with what I was wearing I worked on my hair.  I again decided to wear it down.  Man, the things I went through for this boy.  This was the second time this week that I was wearing my hair down just for him.  I hated the work I had to put into achieving the effect that I wanted, so most of time the time that I wore my hair up was due to laziness.

            Both my mom and dad had come home while I was getting ready.  They had planned one of their nights out together, and I didn’t know about it until this morning while we were sitting at breakfast.  They had known that I had decided to do this the day before, and apparently they had decided to go out some time afterwards.  That meant that they would be coming home at times that were much earlier than normal.  I think they had planned this purposely after I had made it known that I would be going out with Bret.  There was a particular vibe of mischief when they let me know that they would be home when he came by, and that they were looking forward to meeting him.  Still, I had a plan, or kind of one.  There was no way that I was going to let my parents to be the one to answer the door when he arrived.  I didn’t want my parents to kick him out before they even knew who he was.  I wasn’t really sure what they were expecting.  They didn’t ask a lot of questions about him, and I wasn’t about to volunteer any information. 

            When I was done getting ready I stayed in my room.  I didn’t want to seem too eager and besides, I didn’t expect him to be on time anyway.  Angel had called while I was waiting and she wasted some time giving me unneeded advice.  The way she was talking she was acting like I had never gone out with a guy before.  It was kind of humiliating, but I wasn’t complaining.  It wasn’t like I had anything else to do while waiting for him to show up.  I had just wished that the conversation was different. 

            As much as I was expecting Bret to be a couple of minutes late, he actually showed up right on time, and here he wanted to be a lawyer.  Mom said that lawyers were never on time for anything except for court dates, especially meetings with other lawyers.  He looked damn good though, even better than normal.  He didn’t usually wear stuff that showed off his physique, not that he had too.  Today was a little different.  The white shirt he wore looked like it was a size too small, but not in a bad way.  He stood in my doorway with that US Patented smile on his face and a single rose in his hand.  I had to admit that the single rose was a nice touch.  Then again, I was kind of a cheap date, so it wouldn’t take much to impress me. 

            “What no Padres jersey?” he joked when he saw me.

            “If anyone was expected to wear one it was you.”

            “Not me.  I’m not a Padres fan.  I am a fan of the Mets.”

            “Oh sorry I didn’t know that.  You skipped that over that when you were telling the class how you were going to have to convert me being one of the Friar faithful.”

            He laughed.  “You’re not going to let me forget that are you.”

            “Of course not,” I said.  “Look why don’t you come inside.  It wouldn’t make a good impression on my mom if a bunch of flies flew into the house while you were standing there.”

            He came inside and said, “You look very nice.”

            “Thanks.  You don’t look half bad yourself.”

            He smiled, and then seemed to finally remember that he was holding the rose in his hand.  “Oh this is for you.”  He handed it to me. 

            “Aw, that was nice of you.  A single rose.”

            “Yeah, I figured that I would give you one rose on the first date, two on the second, and so on.”

            “You must be pretty confident that there will be a second one, huh?”

            “I’ve got to be.”

            “Okay, well let me go put this into some water.” I said and quickly excused myself.  I went to kitchen and brought out a skinny glass vase that I had specific bought for this purpose.  I had been previously briefed on the single rose so I was expecting it, but it was still nice anyway.  Like I said, I was a cheap date. 

            When I came back into the living room, I saw that my mom had made her way into the living room and had spotted Bret.  They were talking, but on the surface I couldn’t tell what the conversation was actually about.  However, I could tell from the look on Bret’s face that he was in awe of her; something that I came to realize long ago was a common occurrence when people met my mother for the first time.  Of course, Mom was wearing a nice red cocktail dress that I totally wanted to have, and she looked stunning.  Still, I didn’t want Bret looking at Mom the way he looked at me half of the time.  Mom shot me a surprised look when she noticed that I had returned to the living room, but there wasn’t anything behind the look that I had to be worried about.  Maybe, I was underestimating her a little bit.

            “So, Bret, I see you’ve met my mother,” I said.

            “Yeah, I was just complimenting her on how nice her house was.”

            “Valerie and Clay do a nice job of the upkeep around here,” my mom said.

            “Well only because we don’t want to deal with the alternative,” I said.  I then changed the subject.  “Mom, Bret has aspirations to go to Harvard and become a lawyer.”

            Mom smiled at this, while Bret flushed with embarrassment.  “Really?” she asked.

            “Well the lawyer part is true,” Bret said.  “Harvard is kind of an inside joke we both share.”

            “You’ve known each other how long?” Mom chided us.  “And you’re sharing inside jokes already?”

            If I had any doubt of whether or not Mom would like him, they were put to rest at that moment.  There would be no way she would be joking with him like that if she didn’t like him, especially since she had just met him.  If there was one thing I could say about Mom was that she was good at making an accurate judge of character quickly.

            “Well, I’ll have to tell you later how that joke started,” I said and then I turned to Bret.  “Don’t you think we ought to get going?  As you said a couple days ago, better to be safe than sorry as far as traffic goes.”

            “Well sure, but I didn’t want to be rude.”

            “Like that has ever stopped you before.”

            Mom actually laughed at this.  “You too sound like Ben and me.”  Mom didn’t try to hide her amusement.  “Go on and get out of here.  Have fun and behave yourselves.”

            “Oh he will definitely behave himself,” I said as Bret tried to grab my hand, and I pushed him away. 

            Mom waved me off, while turning to head back upstairs, and said, “I’m talking more to you than to him.”

            Bret choked back a laugh.  He was staring at my mom rather intensely.  It was actually kind of creepy and it went on a little too long.  I hit him on the arm to bring him out of what was apparently a state of hypnosis.  

            “What?” he asked. “Damn, you hit hard.”

            “Watch your mouth. It’s not wise to talk like that in this house,” I warned him. “And stop looking at my mom like that.  You’re making me nervous.”

            “I couldn’t help it,” he explained.  “She looks like she could be your twin sister.”

            “Try to grab my hand in front of her again; you might be unlucky enough to see how she is not my twin.  Talk about being bold.”

               “What do you mean?” he asked innocently.  “I don’t think she minded at all.  Besides, nothing ventured; nothing gained.”

            “Yeah well just remember that this is a first date.”

            “I don’t know why I should,” he said with a straight face. “I’m sure you won’t let me forget it.”

            I laughed at that basically because he was right.  I wasn’t going to let him forget it.  We finally walked out of the house, and the first thing I saw was this Candy Apple red Ferrari parked behind my car.  I glanced at Bret, and boy, was he looking mighty smug and proud of himself.  He kind of deserved that look.  It was the first time that he had done anything since we met that was borderline impressive.  I kept my mouth shut until we got into the car.  He even opened the door for me.  That was very gentleman like of him.   

             “I thought you said that I had the better car?” I said after he jumped into the driver’s seat and started the ignition.

            “You do,” he answered.  “This is my dad’s toy.  I didn’t want to take you out in my truck.”

            “How thoughtful of you,” I said.  “I’m surprised that he actually let you drive it.”

            “You know what?” he said.  “So am I.”

            We both laughed at this.  It was really a great moment.  I think this was the first time that we were able to laugh like that and it wasn’t at the expense of the other person.  Bret turned onto the freeway, and even though he had every reason to drive like a lunatic in this particular speedy car, for the most part he was very responsible.  He did have his moments, but for the most part he kept it under a hundred miles an hour.  I sat quiet for a moment, and Bret didn’t go out of his way to keep the conversation going.  However, after about a minute he broke the silence, asking me what I was thinking.

            I thought for a second before responding.  “At this time last year, I would never have thought that in a year I would be sitting in a Ferrari going to a baseball with a guy who has basically bothered me for two days until I said yes.  Add to the fact that we’re laughing about how we both didn’t think you’re dad would let you drive it, and it’s a little weird.”

            “A lot can happen in a year,” Bret said.  “The one thing you didn’t mention was the fact that you’re riding in a Ferrari with a white boy.”

            “I was trying to avoid it, but since you brought it up, yeah it’s that too.”

            “Believe me, I can’t say that I didn’t think the same thing,” Bret said.  “Let’s just have fun and see where this goes.  If it doesn’t work out, I’m pretty sure that it won’t scar us for life.”

            Honestly, that was probably the smartest thing he’s said since I’ve met him, and he’s said a lot. 

            “How did your dad take it when you told him you were going out with a black girl since a year ago you didn’t think you would be?”

            “Why don’t you ask him yourself?  He’ll be at the game tonight, so you’ll have plenty of time to ask him.”

            “I’d rather not.  Why don’t you just tell me?” Then a thought occurred to me.  “Wait a minute.  Did you just say that your Dad will be there?”


            “I thought you told me that he had something else to do and that was why you had the tickets in the first place.”  That wasn’t a question, but more a statement of fact.

            “Yeah, I kind of didn’t tell the whole truth about how I actually got these tickets.”

            I turned in my seat and looked directly at him.  This was a trend that I wanted to stop quickly.  I wasn’t really that upset about it, but if he’d do this then there was no telling what he would do.

            “Look, Bret,” I said to him.  “I’m going to be honest with you.  I actually kind of like you, and that’s the main reason why I decided to go with you tonight.  However, don’t do that again.  Those types of things can turn my like for you into dislike very quickly.” 

            “Got it,” he said.  We had just started to enter the La Jolla area, a place that was even more expensive then where we lived, and we had made pretty good time.  However, I can’t say that it wasn’t because Bret didn’t gun it when he had the opportunity.  He continued.  “So you like me huh?” 

            “That’s what I said isn’t it?  Believe me.   I wouldn’t be in this car right now if I didn’t.”

 “So what is it that you like about me?”  I could see I was also going to have to break him of the habit of asking these types of questions.  I decided to humor him.

“Basically you’re smart, you have a nice since of humor, and you’re easy to talk to.  You’re just an all around nice guy, even though you do have a slight sense of entitlement that I don’t appreciate.”

That last part stung him a little bit, but he said.  “Sorry about that.  Having a sense of entitlement is kind of common around our parts.”

“I’m aware of that.  It’s why I don’t hold it against you.”

“Well, you could have said that I was kind of good looking.  At least stroke my ego a little bit.”

“I didn’t say you were ugly,” I said laughing.  “And I don’t think your ego, or anything else, really needs stroking.  The girls at school do enough of that as it is.”

He didn’t have any worthy response to that so he changed the subject.

“Well, if you’re worried about how my dad will react to you,” he said.  “I can honestly say that you have nothing to worry about.  I won’t be his first son to bring home a black girl.”

This was very surprising.  Bret said all this like it was no big deal, which to him it probably wasn’t.  However, if I had been driving we probably would have run into the median.  The fact that he had an older brother wasn’t that much of a surprise.  It was the fact that interracial relationships seemed to be commonplace in his family.  They weren’t even common place in my family, and my family was huge.  He explained without me prompting him for more information.

“My oldest brother, I have two, enlisted in the Navy.  That was enough to drive my parents out of their minds.  Then about two years later he came home married to one of the girls he was stationed on ship with.  To make matters worse, he also brought home his daughter.  He didn’t tell anyone until he came home on leave.  I was an uncle at the age of fourteen.”

That was too crazy, and I didn’t actually believe him at first.  It was something I would see on some soap opera, and I hated those things.  I glanced at him, and I could see that he was totally serious.  I couldn’t imagine him an uncle, and it made me see him in a totally different light than I did before. 

“How did your parents take it?” I asked him.  Again, I had only asked because he didn’t seem to mind talking about it. 

“At first, things weren’t so great around our house.  That only lasted about a night though.  My brother was smart enough to come home and tell them first.  They actually met my sister-in-law and my niece the next night.  My parents loved them both.  And my niece, Alisha, she’s the cutest thing.  She’s going to be a stunner when she’s older.  I’m going to have to beat those boys off with a stick.  Anyway, everyone says that I’m more like my older brother to begin with, so I don’t think they will be that shocked.”

The look of pride on his face when he talked about his niece was unmistakable.  It was actually kind of cute.  I had to say there was a lot more to him than meets the eye.  When we got into downtown San Diego, we immediately ran into traffic.  This wasn’t too surprising considering the time of day, it being a Friday, and a baseball game in the area.  However, the parking situation was a nightmare, and the fact that the cost to park a car downtown was ridiculously expensive didn’t make things any better.  We ended up parking about six blocks from the park and walking all the way there.  Of course all Bret spent the whole entire walk cracking jokes.  After about five minutes, it started to get a little much.  He’s a lot funnier when he wasn’t trying to be.  I guess it was a good thing that he wanted to be a lawyer instead of a comedian.  Still, I let him have his fun.  When we got about two blocks from the ballpark he grabbed my hand, and I made no attempt to stop him.  He had big hands, and mine were totally dwarfed in his. 

We got inside the stadium with about an hour before the game was supposed to start.  For a team that was supposed to be so horrible, there was a lot more people here than I would have expected.  In all fairness, it was a Friday night and the ballpark was in a part of downtown that was known to be pretty hopping.  Bret was extremely excited.  He was like a little boy going to his first major league baseball game with his little league team.  As excited as he was, he didn’t let go of my hand, and he went out of his way to let people know that he was with me.  If anything, I expected it to be the other was around.  I guess he really was trying to work on that sense of entitlement and arrogance.  We found our way to the luxury suite where we were supposed to be, but Bret stopped short of walking inside. 

“Well, are we ready to show ourselves?” Bret asked.  He turned and looked at me. We were still holding hands, and everyone who passed was staring at us.  It was a little weird.  This was California, and not the Deep South, a place that I had been.  If we were in the Deep South, I would have expected these kinds of stares, but not in Southern California, arguably one of the most liberal places in the country.   

“I’m as ready as I’m going to get,” I said.  This was one of those things in life that you’re going to have to just do it and get it over with, no matter how uncomfortable it might be.  I made the decision to go through this, so I couldn’t run away from it now.

Bret opened the door, and we walked inside.  Before we could get well inside the door, the cutest little girl, who must be Alisha, ran up and grabbed Bret’s legs.  There wasn’t a whole lot he could do, not that he minded all that much.  He bent down and picked her up, rather easily I might add.  She immediately threw her arms around him when she was close enough to reach.  It was a cute moment, I had to admit. 

“Hi, Uncle Bret,” she said.

“Hey, sweetheart.”

“Who’s that?” she asked pointing at me.

“Don’t point.  That’s rude.”  He gently lowered her pointing hand.  “This is Valerie.”  I did my part and said hi, but it was a waste of breath because she totally ignored me.  He gently put her down. “We’ll play later,” Bret said.  “Right now I’m going to go talk to your grandpa.”

She runs off without saying a word, and we didn’t spend much time worrying about her.  Bret takes my hand again, and leads me over to a man who, if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought was Bret’s older brother from the back.  However, when he turned around, I knew immediately that it was Mr. Spencer, and he looked exactly like I would expect Bret to look when he’s older.  Mr. Spencer should have been on every billboard in Hollywood about how to age gracefully without plastic surgery or Botox.  Boy, did he look young.  Bret’s got some damn good genes.   When Mr. Spencer saw me, he instantly threw up a carbon copy of Bret’s US Patented smile. 

“Valerie,” he said coming up to me and shaking my hand.  “It’s good to see you again.  I hope Bret didn’t scare you too much driving like an idiot on the way here.”

“He kept his impulses under control.”  I didn’t even glance at Bret because I knew what his reaction was going to be.  I was going to have some explaining to do. 

“Well, Brianne called today,” Mr. Spencer said.  He was totally ignoring his son.  “She told me to tell you that if Bret doesn’t behave, you have her permission to slap him around a bit.”

“Thanks a lot, Dad,” Bret moaned and I was laughing.  “I’ve already felt her hit me once.  She wasn’t exactly gentle.”

“Knowing you,” Mr. Spencer said.  “I’m sure that you deserved it.”

“Well, I don’t think you have anything to worry about Mr. Spencer,” I said.  “I’m just worried about my competition.  Even the young girls seem to like him.”

“You should be fine.  Right, Bret?”  Mr. Spencer had said that last part with a certain edge which was interesting to me.  I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what it meant.

“Of course not,” Bret answered.  “Where’s Brad?”
            “I don’t know,” Mr. Spencer answered.  “He left and went somewhere.  I’m stuck watching Alisha for the moment.  Michelle didn’t come because she’s got duty.” 

“Val and I would be happy to watch her for a while.”  It was nice of Bret was to volunteer my services.  Was this a date or a babysitting job?

“No,” Mr. Spencer’s answer was a lot more forceful than I think he intended it to be.  He immediately winced after he said it.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he was use to talking that way having to raise three boys and a girl.  He continued, “You two have fun.  I know that she didn’t come here to babysit your niece.  And you,” he pointed at Bret.  “Behave yourself.  I know how you get when there is a girl around that you like.”  The coincidence of Mom and Mr. Spencer both telling their own kids to behave wasn’t lost on me.  He then left us to chase after his granddaughter.  He was going to have his hands full with her.  I couldn’t help but snicker, but I was sure that he could handle it.  Like his son, Mr. Spencer was in great shape.

Bret turned and looked at me.  “How about we go and sit in the outside part?” he asked me. 

“But it’s going to get cold after it gets dark,” I protested.  “Maybe we should just stay in here.  There are plenty of places to sit.”

“True,” he agreed.  “But there is more privacy out there.  We can always come in when it gets dark.”

“Point taken.” I was determined to get my way on this.  I didn’t really know why.  I just wanted it.  “Let’s sit outside when there are a lot more comfortable chairs in here.” I made it clear by the tone of my voice that I wasn’t going outside.  “I don’t think anyone is really going to go out there way to listen to our conversation.  As a matter of fact, everyone seems to be trying to avoid it.”

Bret thought this over for a second.  He was really in a no win situation since I had no intention of going outside.  Finally, he gave in and we took some seats on the couches on the end of the room.  We had a pretty good view from where we had decided to sit.  We could see the whole field without out having to look at the monitors that were spread out around the suite.  This place was nicely set up. And Bret had wanted to go outside.  Mr. Spencer had paid for this, so he might as well get his money’s worth.

After we sat down, Bret said, “So I see that you had met my dad already.”

“Brianne introduced him to me last spring.  It wasn’t at the state meet though, but earlier than that.”

This amused Bret for some reason.  “And here you had me thinking that you were worried about what my Dad would think of you.”

“I did no such thing,” I protested.  “You made that assumption when I got on you for not telling me that we were basically going to a family gathering and not a typical first date.”

“Okay,” he said.  He realized he wasn’t going to win this either, and we talked more about each other’s families for a while waiting for the game to start.  After about a half an hour, a server came over and asked us what we wanted to eat.  I ordered a simple hot dog, fries, and a coke.  Bret, on the other hand, ordered so much food that even the server was getting a bit annoyed with him.  It’s known to everyone that Bret was a big guy, but even I wasn’t sure where he was going to put all of the food that he had asked for.  He asked for so much that if the server was able to get it all right on the first try, I personally would have given her a two hundred dollar tip.  I couldn’t even keep track of it all.  We continued talking for a while until our food arrived, and the server had gotten most of his food right, with only a couple of minor errors.  Bret, to his credit, didn’t start a stink over this.  As a matter of fact, he didn’t say anything at all.  He just ate the food.  I personally thought that he had ordered all of that stuff just because his dad was paying for it.  There was no way that I thought he would have ordered all of that stuff if he was going to have to pay for it.  It had to be a least fifty dollars worth of junk food and grease for himself, not including what I had.  He was going to have to work out religiously for the next three months to get rid of all that fat. 

A few minutes after Bret finished eating, he ate every last thing he ordered down to the last drop of ketchup, the game started.  We went through the drill of standing for the National Anthem, and all of the pre-game ceremony.  Bret was very animated throughout the start of the game.  He was giving in-depth strategies of everything that was going on, and to be honest, it actually wasn’t boring at all.  I knew a lot of the rules of baseball that everyone else knew, but having Bret explain the more in depth strategies made it all the more exciting.  And here all I thought there was to the sport was hitting a ball and running three hundred and sixty feet.  By Bret’s knowledge you can tell that baseball was his passion.  Despite this by the third inning all of the food was starting to get to him, and the excited little boy disappeared.  That was probably because the game was actually pretty boring.  No one was hitting anything, so there wasn’t a whole lot to get excited about. 

After a bit, Bret had leaned against the edge of the couch, but he still had both feet on the floor and he could still see the field.  Yeah, eating all of that junk food had definitely gotten to him.  However, he remained totally alert to what was going on during the game.  I was sure that if I had eaten that much food I would have been out like a light and security would have kicked me out of the ballpark thinking that I was drunk.  When I was sure that he was comfortable in his current position, I then sat in the same position as him, but instead rested my head on his chest.  He stiffened at first, which was understandable because I had caught him off guard.  He quickly relaxed and put his arm around me, and when I made no attempt to move his arm, which after what I had just done would have been silly, he relaxed even more.  He smelled and generally felt really good.  I could feel the rise and fall of his chest because of his breathing, and it was rhythmic enough that it could easily have put me to sleep.

“I could really get use to this,” I said to him.

He responded, “I hope you do.”  His voice was deeper and sexier than ever.

The fact that I had done any of those things in the last five minutes was definitely out of the normal.  There was something about Bret that made me extremely comfortable.  It had been that way since we first met.  I had always been at ease in his presence, but it was the things that he said that would usually piss me off.  I couldn’t name a guy besides my own dad who I was this comfortable with.  Bret, at one point, had took his hand and started to gently caressed my cheek.  I was so wrapped up in the aura of him that I hadn’t realized he had done it at first.   His hands were surprisingly soft.  We sat like that wrapped up in each other for a bit and continued to a watch the game.  I easily could have stayed that way all night.  However, I wouldn’t be able to get that opportunity.
            Alisha ran up and jumped on the couch next to me.  Unlike earlier when she totally ignored me, it seemed that it was me that she wanted to talk to.  It was her uncle that she ignored this time.  She asked me questions that were really weird for a girl her age to be asking, and then she came out with a gem. 

“Valerie, are you Uncle Bret’s new girlfriend?”

“Uh.”  That was the best that I could come up with.  Hell, I was surprised that she even remembered my name.  I didn’t want to answer this question, and I looked up at her uncle.

“Hopefully one day she will be,” Bret answered for me. 

However, Alisha wanted no part of him right then.  “I wasn’t asking you, Uncle Bret.”  She was extremely well spoken for a toddler.  I laughed and looked at Bret.

“She must get that attitude from Michelle,” he said.  Michelle must have been Alisha’s mom.

“That’s good.  She needs it to be able to deal with you.”  I then turned back to his niece.  “Well not yet.  We are working on it.”

She seemed to accept this answer, and then she came out with another gem.  “I hope so,” she started.  “His last girlfriend was mean.  I didn’t like her.”

Bret face was the color of a beet.  This little girl was hilarious, and she was like four years old.    We didn’t get to spend any more time with her though, because her dad, Brad, had showed up and took her away.  He scolded her mildly for bothering us and apologized to us both, however both of us insisted that she was no bother at all.  Brad, quickly introduced himself when Bret had made it clear to him that I had no idea who he was, even though, at that point I had already figured it out.  If Bret was the splitting image of his father, Brad looked nothing like the two of them.  It was obvious that the two of them were related, but from what I could see they didn’t look like brothers.  I didn’t get much time to talk to Brad as he quickly took off and went to take his cute daughter down to playground in the north end of the ballpark. 

After they were gone, I said to Bret, “She’s quite smart for her age.”

“Probably a little too smart for her own good,” he responded.  “She puts me in my place a lot.”

“Knowing what I know, I’m sure it was all justified.”

“Hey,” he said show mock offense.  He didn’t say anything more, but instead pulled me close to him again.  We spent the rest of the game in that position poking fun at each other in a playful way.  We were so into each other that I didn’t know when the game ended and who won.  Before we left the suite, we said goodbye to everyone.  Mr. Spencer took about a minute too long telling Bret to drive responsibly, but it was funny nonetheless.  Who could blame him?  I wouldn’t even have let my teenage son drive my Ferrari.  We left the suite and made our way back to the gate holding hands.  We ran into one of my cousins along the way.  She was working for the security company who worked the ballgames.  She made no attempt to hide her surprise that the two of us were together, and Bret became instantly uncomfortable.  I couldn’t blame him. This was something that I was going to have to explain to my aunt because I was sure my cousin was going to blab.  However, before I was able to wrestle Bret away from her, she leaned over to whisper in my ear.

“He’s fine.  Does he have any older brothers?”  She might was well not have leaned over said that in my ear.  She was way too loud and I was sure that Bret heard her.

“Yeah,” I answered her.  “And he’s married with a daughter.”

“Damn.  The good ones are always married, or gay.”

I finally wrestled Bret away from her while he was cracking up laughing.  The last thing I needed was this particular cousin chasing after Bret’s family. 

The drive home was uneventful, and as Mr. Spencer had asked, Bret was very responsible while driving home.  Except for the Friday night downtown traffic, the drive home went very smooth.  It was rather refreshing.  Bret pulled the Ferrari into the driveway behind my BMW about a half an hour after we left the ballpark.  My parents had made it back home.  I knew that they wouldn’t be out too late.  My mom probably would be going into the office in the morning.  She was working on something big these last few weeks.  I didn’t give Bret a chance to get out and open the door for me.  However, he did walk me to the door. 

“You know,” I said to him. “I had a great time tonight.”

“Hopefully my family didn’t drive you crazy.”

“Please.  The only one I was worried about driving me crazy was you.”  

He laughed at this as I touched him on the arm.  “Well, I’m glad I didn’t.”  He paused and then asked.  “I’ll call you tomorrow?”  It was more of a question than a statement.  I had finally given him my cell phone number before we left the ballpark. 

“Sure, I should be home from work by six.”

He then took me into his arms and kissed me right on the lips.  It had surprised me, but I definitely didn’t push him off me.  I had to admit he was a great kisser, and it gave me shivers, the good kind. 

When he finally let me go, I joked, “There’s that nerve of yours again.”

“Nothing ventured; nothing gained,” he responded.  “Plus, I don’t hear you complaining.”

He was right about that.  I wasn’t complaining, not one bit.  He bent down and quickly kissed me on the lips again, telling me that he would see me in class on Monday, and then turned and walked away.   I just stood there and watched him. 

When he got the bottom step of the front porch, he turned and said, “There is something different about you.”  I had no idea what he was talking about and told him as much. 

“I don’t really know what it is,” he explained.  “But something is different.  Something has changed since we first met.  I had actually noticed it on Wednesday, but I haven’t figured it out yet.” 

He didn’t explain any further, but left me standing there wondering what the hell he was talking about.  I didn’t walk into the house until after I saw him speed off making tire tracks on my street.  If he had done that in our driveway, Bret would have been in big trouble, and I was sure that Mr. Spencer would have given Bret an ear full had he seen that.

After I went inside, I yelled for mom to let her know that I was home.  When I didn’t get an answer, I went to her office to see if she was there.  It’s her usual place when she’s working at home so she can avoid having to go into the office on the weekends, and that’s exactly where I found her.  I knocked on the door to announce my presence, and she looked up from her papers. 

“Well from that look on your face, I can guess that you had a good time,” she said.

“It wasn’t a typical first date, but it was fun,” I confirmed for her.

“How wasn’t it typical?” Mom asked.

“It was a family gathering,” I said.  “His dad paid for the whole thing, and I got to meet most of his family.”

Mom regarded me closely.  “It’s kind of early for that isn’t it.”

“Come on, Mom.  You’ve met him.  Besides, it was free.  Neither one of us had to pay for anything, so I’m not complaining.”

“Well that makes sense,” she said with a laugh.  “How did his family react to you?”

I knew that she was leading me somewhere with this particular line of question.   It was a tactic she had used on Clay and me for years. A typical lawyer and she hardly ever litigated.  Did I miss read her reaction earlier?

“They were fine,” I said. “I had actually met Bret’s dad last spring.  His sister ran track, and I knew her.  Honestly, I think they see me as an upgrade from his previous girlfriend.”

“Are you sure about that?”

“Trust me.  You haven’t met her.  The three of us share English class together.  She’s a piece of work.  It’s pretty bad when Bret’s niece, who can’t be any older than four, told me how mean she was.”

“Well, I’m glad you had a good time.”  Where ever she was going with that line of questioning didn’t matter anymore, I guessed, since she dropped it.  She continued, “He’s very good looking.  I have to admit, I was impressed.  I didn’t know that you had it in you.”

Now it was my turn to ask a question.  “What do you mean?”

“I would have never thought you would consider going out with a white guy.  I guess I was wrong on that one.”  That was so ironic that I had to laugh.

“The only reason I didn’t say yes when he first asked was because I was worried about what you were going to say.”

She didn’t respond to that right away.  “To be honest,” she started.  “I was hoping that you wouldn’t.  Believe when I say that life would be easier on you if you didn’t.  It’s kind of the way America is.  However, I’m well aware that you don’t have many choices here in that regard.  Besides, I can’t really get mad at you for it when I’ve done it myself.”

The look on my face caused Mom to laugh.  I was totally in shock.  “When did you date a white guy?” I asked.

“He was the guy I was dating when I met your dad.  We were well on our way to breaking up by that time.  I was too busy for him, and he couldn’t stand the thought that I might end up making more money than him.”

“It sounds like it was a good thing that you broke up with him.”  I paused and then a thought occurred to me.  “So that’s why you turned Dad down four times before you finally said yes.”

“Your ability to be perceptive always amazes me.”  She smiled.  “That’s right and I never told him why I was turning him down until after I accepted.  Even then, it was only after he asked.  Your dad thought I was playing with him, and he asked why I was saying yes.”

“Why did you say yes?”

Mom looked at me like I was stupid.  “Are you kidding?  Because your dad’s fine as hell, not to mention that he’s a sweetheart.”

“Well, I don’t usually look at Dad in that way.”

“Well, why did you finally say okay to Bret?”

“For the same reasons, even though he does have a sense of entitlement that is kind of annoying.”

“And you don’t?”

Leave it to Mom to put me in my place.  I ignored the question, which I was surprised she let me get away with, and added, “Plus, I couldn’t really think of a good reason to say no.”

“Isn’t the fact that you hate baseball good enough?”

“It was free.  I really couldn’t use that as an excuse.”

“Well, maybe you have a very small sense of entitlement.”

I ignored that too.  “Besides, baseball is Bret’s passion.  I couldn’t really deny him that.  He even got me to enjoy the game.  He probably knows more about the game and strategy than Dad does.”

“I’ll take that as a warning to never let the two of them talk about baseball.  I don’t want him to make your dad look bad.”

“One more thing,” I said turning to leave.  “I saw Danielle at the game working.  I’m sure she’s going to tell her mom that she saw me and Bret there.  You know how she feels about that stuff.  I’m sure she’s going to give you an earful.”

Mom wasn’t the least bit concerned.  “I can handle Tracy.  I’ve been through this with her before.  Now get out of here so I can get some work done.”

She didn’t have to tell me twice.  I left and went upstairs to me room.  I got undressed quickly and went to bed.  I fell asleep quickly with a smile on my face.

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Novel / Novella
writing ajodom
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