gripping action-based mystery

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Chapter Eight

Around 3:00 on Sunday evening, the day of my father’s dinner party, I pull the dry cleaning plastic off my black tuxedo and laid it across the bed. I smile to myself, knowing my father is going to flip his bald head when he sees me walk through the doors with Minna on my arm. But then again, it may give the man false hope and I will enjoy crushing that hope. Damn, I can be so evil some times.

I decided to take a long hot bath to prepare my body for the tension tonight was sure to bring. I tested the water with my hand and it was perfectly heated. As I eased myself into the water slowly, I let out a sigh.

During my bath I contemplate the past week’s events. After the meeting with the Assistant DA Sunday, I began to suspect that it had to be someone on the police force who was trying to set me up. Someone that knew me, and knew me well. At first I suspected Matthew Lirday. But after considering that he wasn’t even on the force during my term, I quickly crossed his name out. The only other person I suspected was John, which bothered me immensely. How could I suspect John? John has always been there for me. Nevertheless, I did some snooping. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything.

After forty-five minutes in the bathtub, the water was cold and my skin shriveled up like a prune. I stood up and stepped out the tub and grabbed a towel to dry myself off. I looked in the mirror and was amazed at how quickly my face had healed. As I finish drying myself off, the phone rings. I run into the bedroom and pick it up.

“Hello?” I answer.

“Trevor Morrows?” the course voice asked. “Yes. Who’s this?”

“Never mind that. I’m calling to give you a warning. If you wanna live to see tomorrow you’d better mind your fucking business and stay away from this case.” “What, who is this?”

“Like I said, if I were you I’d keep your nose out of this.” Then the line went dead.

What the hell was that all about? What case? It couldn’t be the Lyons’ case. I had already settled up with Mrs. Lyons during the past week.

Mrs. Lyons was extremely upset when I showed her the pictures of her husband in bed with a transexual. Her tune changed dramtically though, when she read my report of the five different swiss bank accounts that her husband had in his mother’s name, the pieces of property in Canada and a timeshare in Florida. Mrs. Lyons also gave me a very generous bonus on top of my fee for my troubles.

Then it only left the predicament regarding Mitchell. Evidently, whoever it was knew I was getting pretty close in figuring out who was trying to frame me.

But, I decided, I wasn’t going to let a little threatening phone call spoil the evening. With the towel still draped around my waist, I walked downstairs to get a glass of wine. I needed something to ease my nerves.

While slowly sipping the glass of white wine, I dressed. I took my time dressing, enjoying the short time I had to myself. The wine mellowed me and I was actually starting to look forward to tonight’s affair.

I pull up in front of Minna’s high rise apartment building at exactly 5:30. Before I left my house, something in the back of my mind knew she wasn’t going to be ready. But no matter what, I was going to be on time when I picked her up.

I walked into the lobby and looked for Minna’s name on the registry to buzz her apartment. But, her name wasn’t on the registry. I walked over to the front desk where an elderly white man was sitting half nodding.

“Could you tell me what apartment Minna Town send is in?” I asked. “Can’t you read the registry?” The old buzzard snapped.

“I don’t have any trouble reading at all, sir. And if Ms. Townsend’s name were on the registry, I wouldn’t have bothered to shake your coffin.” I said with a smile. “What?” he asked visibly awake now.

“Oh, I’m sorry, you probably couldn’t hear me with all that crust of hair in your ears.”

“Listen young man, there is no need to get nasty.”

“Well, sir, if you would just answer the question, we wouldn’t have had to go through all of this now, would we?.”

“She’s on the 15th floor.” he replied heatedly.

“Thank you so much sir. You see how easy that was? You can go back to sleep now.” I said heading towards the bank of elevators.

I don’t know who pissed in that old goat’s Com Flakes this morning, but I’m not the one. The elevator doors opened and I leisurely looked for Minna’s apartment. I rang the bell on the door of the apartment that read M. Townsend. In two minutes the door swung open.

Minna looked stunning. She was wearing a black silk gown with spaghetti straps. The dress ended just above her knees with a slight slit on the right leg. It fit her aerobicized physique exquisitely. Pearls hung around her neck loosely and were matched with a pair of earrings. She wore her hair swept in a bun with a few strands dancing across her face.

I was speechless.

“You look fantastic,” I finally was able to blurt out.

“Well thank you, Mr. Morrows. So do you. Come on in. I’ll be ready in about 10 minutes.” She said letting me in.

She rushed into the back room and I walked over to the stereo to put some music on. Minna had a large collection of c.d. ’s. I decided to pop in Sade’s Greatest hits. I sat on the high back sofa opposite the stereo. Ten minutes go by before I started to get a little agitated.

“You need some help in there?” I asked.

“If I said I did need some help with my pantyhose, would you come to my aid?” she said laughing.

“No, I guess not. But what’s taking you so long?”

“Trevor, be patient. There’s some wine in the fridge, help yourself. Pour me a glass too, would you?”

Well the chick knew how to settle me down. A glass of wine would hit the spot. I quickly walked through the doors to her kitchen and could see that either she was a freak about cleaning or she never cooks. The place was spotless. Not a bread crumb in sight or a glass out of place.

I reached in the refrigerator and pulled out a carafe of Paul Masson and quickly filled one glass. As soon as I gulped that down, I refilled the glass and poured another glass for Minna. With both glasses in tow, I pass through the doors and place her glass on the dining room table.

“Could you bring my glass in here?” Minna calls out from the bedroom. “Sure.” I answer back.

Then a flash came through my head. I hope she didn’t have plans on seducing me or something. The last time a woman called me into her bedroom, she met me with nothing on except a pair of red pumps. I quickly shook the thought out of my head.

“Trevor, you’re flattering yourself, aren’t you? She probably doesn’t think of you in that manner. At least I hope not.” I think to myself.

I walk to the bedroom door and knock.

“Are you decent?” I ask.

“Yes, Mr. Morrows. I’m decent. Stop being silly.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t want to put you in any compromising position.” I say as I walk through the door.”

“Trevor, it’s only my bedroom.”

And a bedroom it was. Everything in it was white. White walls, white throw rugs, white sheer curtains and in the middle of Minna’s bedroom was an ivory canopy bed, which had a white comforter draped over it.

“Is this a bedroom or a cloud?” I asked teasingly.

I walk towards the gold vanity where Minna was sitting. Evidently she was applying the final touches to her makeup.

“So, are you about through?” I ask.

“Yes sir. I should be done in about two minutes.” “Okay, I’ll just be in the living room.”

“What for? Do you think I’m gonna violate you or something?” “No, not after the hard work you took to get ready.”

“Well, sit down and talk to me.”

Minna and I chit-chat for about fifteen minutes before we head out of the apartment. When we cam e down to the lobby, the doorman was totally unconscious.

“Just think,” I say to Minna. “You pay this guy’s salary.”

“Oh leave Sam alone. He has to work two jobs besides his social security and pension, just to survive.” Minna says.

It’s around 7:00 as Minna and I drive up to the circular driveway of my parent’s home and was amazed at how the place looked. The large front yard was brightly lit from the six lamps located in different ends of the lawn. As I pulled to the front door we were greeted by a valet. As I handed my keys to the valet, I was astonished as to the extent my father was going for this dinner party. I walked over to the other side of my jeep to open the door for Minna.

“Well, aren’t you the gentlemen.” she said smiling. “Well, I do try,” I commented laughing.

“Alright, let me just warn you. If my father’s mouth falls out onto the ground just pay him no mind.” I say as we walk up the steps to my parent’s home.

“Trevor, come on, it can’t be that bad.”

“Okay, just don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

The door swung open and we were welcomed by a tall white man wearing a butler’s uniform.

“Where in the hell did he come from?” I asked myself.

Walking into the large foyer I could hear laughter and talking coming from the living room.

“The other guests are in the living room sir.” The rent-a-butler announced.

“Thank you,” I responded, leading Minna by the hand towards the direction of the noise.

As we stepped down into the living room, it seemed the whole room grew quiet. Immediately my mother pushes past a crowd of people and rushes towards us.

“Trevor, baby, you made it,” she said giving me a huge hug. “Mother, I said I would,” I said smiling.

“Yes, I know, but I wasn’t sure if you would back out or not.”

“You know I’m a man of my word. No matter what they say about me. Mother, let me introduce you to my date for the evening. This is Minna Towsend. Minna, this is my mother, Elizabeth Morrows.”

“It’s nice to meet you.” Minna said giving my mother a big smile.

“My goodness, you look absolutely marvelous. Trevor, now where have you been hiding this beautiful young lady?”

“Minna works in the same building as I do. She’s an attorney.”

“Really, what type of law?” “Criminal law.”

“Well then, you’ve come to the right party. Did Trevor tell you his father was a criminal law attorney, before he became judge?”

“Mother, I’m sure Minna doesn’t want to hear all of that.” I said feeling a little embarrassed.”

“No, no Trevor, I would love to hear more about your father and the rest of your family.” “Well then, I that leaves me with finding something else to do. I guess I’ll get this over with. Where’s dad?”

“He’s upstairs in the bedroom taking a phone call. Go on up.” She says. She then directs her attention back to Minna. “It’s so nice to see such a beautiful young lady with my son. And girl, where did you get that dress? It’s utterly stunning.... “

I made my way through the crowd giving my “hello’s” and “how-are-you’s” to the guests. I begin to wonder though if leaving Minna with my mother was the best thing. Knowing my mother, she would try to figure out if there was any “love interest” between the two of us. You would think she had a enough of that when I broke up with Kasha, but the woman was persistent.

Before going upstairs, I decided to go into the kitchen and say hello to Laverne.

Laverne has been with the family every since I can remember. She cooked, she cleaned and she practically raised me. I loved her as much as I do my own mother.

As I walked through the double doors leading into the kitchen, I immediately turned around. The very last person I thought I would see this evening was deep in conversation with Laverne, Kasha.

“Why didn’t mother warn me she was here?” I cursed under my breath. Before I was able to pass through the doors, Laverne called for me.

“Trevor, honey, I know you ain’t gonna leave this here kitchen before you come over here and give me hug,” Laverne said in her overly loud voice.

I slowly turned around and start to walk towards the two of them.

“How are you precious? I haven’t seen you in a dog’s age. Whatcha doin’, hidin’ from me?” Laverne bellowed while giving me a bear hug.

“No, ma’am. I’ve been extremely busy.” I said shyly with my head bent.

Damn, no matter how old I get this woman always makes me feel as if I were two years old.

“Look who’s here, Trevor,” Laverne said laughing.

“I know. How’ve you been Kasha?” I asked with my hand extended to give her a handshake.

Kasha stood up from the stool she was sitting, letting the long red dress she was wearing flow to the floor. The girl looked good. The dress was so tight I could practically tell you what she had for breakfast.

Kasha walked towards me and slapped my hand away.

“You know I deserve a hug, so stop playing,” she said laughing.

As I hug her lightly, my hands ran across her smooth back. Almost as if I were burned by fire, I quickly pulled back.

“What’s wrong? I know it’s been awhile since you’ve touched me, but I can guarantee that nothing’s changed.”

“I can see that. Wow, that’s some dress,” I say sweating obviously. “So, who’d you come with?”

“Your mother didn’t tell you?”

“No, it looks like my mother neglected to tell me quite a few things.” “Well, I came with my fiancée.”

“Your what?” I asked all astonished. “Oh yeah, see.”

Kasha brings her hand towards my face and proudly displays this humongous diamond ring sitting on her finger.

After gaining back my cool points, I take the hand slowly. “Wow, that’s a big rock. So, who’s the lucky guy?”

“Oh, you remember Cornelius Edmonds, don’t you?”

“Yeah, the dude you used to date before you met me.”

“Yes, well we started dating about six months after you and I broke up and now we’re engaged.”

“Well, that’s just peachy.” I said.

Well color me green, cause I’ll be damned if I wasn’t a little jealous. And here she was just gloating like a cat who just swallowed a mouse. I can’t believe this girl was already dating after only six months. At least I waited a year before I started dating. But I guess the girl needed to go on with her life.

“Well, you look good, Trevor. Who’s the lucky lady, er um fella you brought with you?” Kasha asked sarcastically.

“I’m gonna choose to ignore that Kasha. It just so happens that a very beautiful young lady escorted me this evening. Why do you ask?”

“No reason. I wasn’t sure if, you know, if things changed.” “Believe me Kasha, if I had you’d be the last to know.”

“What does that mean?” she said, putting her hands on her hips. “Nothing. Listen, let’s not start this evening on a bad note.”

Just then, the doors to the kitchen swing open.

“Trevor, here you are.” My mother says. “I see you’ve found Kasha.”

“Yes mother I have.” I say walking towards her, away from Kasha. “No thank s to you,” I whisper.

“I’m sorry son. I completely forgot to warn you she was coming.” “Where’s Minna?” I ask

“I left her in a boring conversation with Senator Adams. Why don’t you go and save her.” She says as I start to push open the doors. “Take Kasha with you while I help the caterers and Laverne get ready for dinner.”

I turn towards my mother quickly. I gave a very sour face, silently “letting her have it.” My mother looks at me, smiles and winks.

“I don’t know the game you’re playing old lady, but payback’s a bitch,” I say to myself. Kasha quickly crosses the kitchen and grabs my arm.

“Come, show me this gorgeous lady you’ve been raving about.”

As Kasha and I make our way back into the living room, she is going on and on about her fiancé: “He’s such a good man. He’s a doctor you know.”

“Oh, you finally found someone who can afford you huh?” “Now, Trevor, there’s no need to be jealous.”

“Kasha, please. Believe me when I tell you I couldn’t be happier, but I’m not with you, so you can stop trying to impress me. Because I’m not impressed.”

“Trevor, why do you have to be so mean?” she says pouting. “Kasha, I’m not trying...,”I began, but I was interrupted by Minna.

“Trevor, thank goodness. Senator Adams can be a little long winded,” Minna said walking towards us.

Kasha immediately shoulders her way in front of me and introduces herself.

“Well, you must be the girl who came with Trevor. My name’s Kasha and yours?”

“It’s Minna and it’s been a very long time since I was called a girl. So let me thank you for that compliment.”

The two of them give each other a weak hand shake and fake smiles. If the air in here were any thicker I think I could have choked.

“I’m sorry that I left you out here by yourself Minna. I just wanted to say hello to

Laverne...,” I started and just like always Kasha interrupted me.

“And we were just catching up on old times,” she said, giving Minna an icy stare.

I quickly slid my arm out of Kasha’s and said, “Kasha, you know, I would really love to meet your fiancée. Where is he?”

“Oh, he’s around here somewhere.” She said still looking at Minna.

“Like I said, Kasha, I would really like to meet him. Why don’t you go find him and introduce us?”

“Okay, I’ll be right back.” She said before turning on her heels to look for her man.

“What’s her issue?” Minna asked.

“Don’t pay Kasha no mind. We used to be engaged. So I’m sure she’s just mad because she thinks you’re getting something she wants and couldn’t get.”

“And that would be...,” she said laughing. “All of this.” I said smiling.

“Oh I see. Well let me go ahead and ease girlfriends’ fears.” “No, no. Do me a favor would you?”

“What?”

“If you’re game, let’s have some fun. Ms. Kasha thinks she’s all that because of her boring ass fiancé. But, I know Kasha. She’s gonna be stank because you’re with me, so let’s play around and give her a headache.”

“Boy, I like the way your mind spins. I owe girlfriend anyway for being so shady.”

Kasha walks back towards where Minna and I are standing with this high-yellow, nerd of man on her arm. Kasha was holding him so tightly you would think she was afraid that he would fly away or something. If the brother knew what I knew, he’d sprout some wings and fast.

“Trevor, this is my fiancé, Cornelius.”

“Hi, nice to meet you.” I said shaking his hand. I don’t know what this brother was drinking, but it was alot. I could smell the alcohol on his breath from ten paces away. “Charmed, I’m sure.” He said slovenly. Cornelius then whispered loudly in Kasha’s ear. Apparently, it wasn’t meant for anyone else to hear, but the man was obviously tipsy.

“He doesn’t look gay.” he said louder than he intended. “Excuse me?” I asked.

“Cornelius!!” Kasha exclaimed. “You’ll have to excuse him, he can’t handle his liquor.” I gave Kasha small smile. “Oh no, let him continue.”. I look towards Cornelius “And what does being gay look like? I’m just, you know, curious to know if a man with your education can still have a scent of ignorance about him.”

“Well you know, you don’t act like...,” Cornelius began.

“Let me stop you now before you plow your foot further down your throat. No, I do not finger-pop, sashay, walk a runway, roll my eyes, hey girl this or hey girl that. But I am gay. And if you think that makes me less of a man because I am gay, all you need to do is ask your fiancé. I’m sure she’ll tell you that this gay man knows how to make her scream. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to introduce my date to my father.”

I took Minna by the hand leaving both Kasha and Cornelius dumbfounded and mouths open.

“Well, I guess you told them,” Minna said smiling.

“I’m sorry about that, but I just get so pissed off with people like that.” “Don’t apologize. Just remind to never get on your bad side.”

I grabbed two glasses of wine from one of the waiters and handed one to Minna. In mid• sip a familiar voice made me cough.

“Mr. Morrows, good evening.” Matthew Lirday said.

I quickly turned around. “Good evening, Matthew. What brings you here?” I ask. “My father’s a little under the weather, so he wanted me to come in his place.”

“That’s right, your father’s Judge Lirday isn’t he? Oh excuse me, where are my manners.

Matthew, this is my friend Minna. Minna, this is Matthew Lirday. He’s a detective on the police force and his father is Judge Lirday”

“It’s a pleasure to meet such a beautiful lady,” Matthew said, taking Minna’s hand to his lips.

“Thank you, Matthew. Are all of you detectives this charming?” Minna says grinning. “No.” I answer. “Only those whose fathers happen to be judges.”

“So, Mr. Morrows, I understand the charges against you have been dropped.”

“First, Matthew, the only Mr. Morrows in this house is my father. Please call me Trevor.”

“Okay, Trevor. Are congratulations due?”

“Not necessarily. There is still a murderer out there and I need to find out who’s responsible.”

“Shouldn’t you leave that to the authorities?”

“No offense to you, Matthew, but if I were to do that, I’ll never find out who did it. Not to say that the police don’t do their jobs well. It’s just that as an· ex-cop, I know what you guys have to deal with and I’m sure this case will probably be lost in the midst of the other cases.”

“Well, I’m a little confused. Detective Langston made it clear to me that you were his first priority. He didn’t want anyone involved in it, not even me.”

“Well, I thought the only reason John took you off the case was because you had a problem with homosexuals.”

“What?” Matthew exclaimed. “Where did you get an idea like that?”

“From John himself. As a matter of fact his exact words were that you were making snide remarks about how you hated faggots, and other bigotry to some guys in the lockeroom. He felt that with that type of prejudice could taint your view on the case.” “Trevor, let me help you understand something. I do not have anything against gay people. As a matter of fact my...,” Matthew started.

“Some of your best friends are gay. Yeah, yeah I heard that before,” I say interrupting him.

“If you would let me finish: I was going to say, my brother happens to be gay. And I have always accepted him for him. I don’t judge people in any manner. As far as what Detective Langston told you, I haven’t the slightest as to why he would say something like that. Because it’s absolutely not true.”

“Unless, he wanted to give Trevor a reason to throw doubt away from himself. And make him look like he was on Trevor’s side.” Minna pointed in.

“What does that mean?” I ask.

“Don’t you get it, Trevor? John knew when and where you were when Raymond got shot. He knew you were involved with Mitchell. And if someone, like Matthew, were to dig up some dirt about the case, they may find that John could be deeply involved.”

“I don’t know, Minna. I thought the same thing too. But, I can’t believe John would do this to me. We are just too close.”

“Trevor, money can change people,” Minna added.

“I know, I know. But it’s just so hard to believe that John could be involved. Anyway, let’s leave this topic for another time. I don’t need my father or anyone else at this party hearing about this.”

“Hearing about what?” Came a voice directly from behind us.

I quickly turned around to face my father. As always, the man was flawlessly dressed and looking very distinguished. I hope, as his son, that I will look this good when I reach his age.

“Nothing important, dad,” I quickly answered.

“Well, son you look quite dapper this evening. Do I owe a debt of thanks to this young lady for dragging my son here this evening?”

“Actually Judge Morrows, Trevor asked me to escort him,” Minna replied, placing her arm around mine.

“I see,” he answered with his eyebrows raised.

“Dad, this is Minna Towsend.”

“Yes, I do believe I’ve had the pleasure of having you serve in my courtroom once or twice.”

“Yes, sir, you have.”

“And have you met Matthew Lirday?” I asked.

“Yes, your father is one helluva judge. We actually went to law school together. I’m sorry that he’s ill. Tell him I asked about him, will you?”

“I sure will, sir.”

“Now, if you two would be so kind as to excuse me and my son, I’d like to speak with him before dinner.”

“Certainly,” Minna and Matthew said simultaneously.

Aw shit. What did this man want from me now? Whatever it was, I’m going to remain cool and collected. I’m not going to let him get to me tonight.

I grabbed another glass of wine from one of the waiters as my father and I walk through the living room and out on the patio.

The patio was barely lit with five chairs and a table positioned on it. My father sat down with his cigar and pointed to another chair opposite him.

“So, son, you look well,” he began. “Thanks, so do you.”

“Well, I’m very glad you came. It’s been quite awhile since we’ve seen each other,” he continued between puffs of his cigars.

“Yeah, I know. I guess I’ve been kinda busy.”

“Even for your own family? That’s not how I raised you.”

I wanted to say, “That’s just it. You didn’t raise me. I was only proof of your manhood.” But I was cool.

“A lot of things have been going on in my life.” “That’s no excuse.”

“Well, what do you want to hear dad? That I’m a terrible son? That I don’t come to visit? That I don’t call? Well it’s not like you’ve given me any reason to.”

“No, I guess not.”

“Look dad, do we have to go through this? Fighting with you is not the highest on my list of favorite things to do.”

“I’m sorry. It’s just that I’m very disappointed that you didn’t come to me when you got arrested.”

My eyes bulged and my mouth dropped. How the hell did he find out about that? I made sure that everything was kept as quiet as possible. Oh fuck, no wonder he’s in a mood.

I took a couple of sips of wine. I grew silent, taking a few minutes to figure what to say next. I began with,

“How did you find out about that?”

“Captain Jamesway told me. But that’s not the point, son. Why didn’t you come to me

Trevor?”

“Dad, for two reasons: One, I’m tired of coming to you when I’m in trouble. I mean, I’m

30 years old and up until recently, I’ve always lived in your shadow. I had to constantly watch what I did for fear it may affect your reputation. And it’s your reputation that I was trying to protect. If it got out that your gay son was arrested on murder charges, how would it look when you ran for office?”

“Fortunately, Captain Jamesway owes me a favor, so it won’t get out. But, I’m not the issue here Trevor, you are. I wish you would stop pushing it in my face that you’re gay.”

“Why, dad, because it makes you uncomfortable?”

“No, Trevor...well, in the beginning it did, but I’ve gotten used to it. You act like being gay describes all of you. It’s just apart of you. Why must you always have it in the forefront?”

“Excuse me? Dad, I don’t always bring it to the forefront. It’s those who have a problem with my being gay that bring it to the forefront. All I’m doing and all I have been doing is defending myself. Do you know what it’s like to constantly try to defend yourself?

Look, dad, I don’t give a damn who has a problem with it. And you’re right, the fact that I’m gay is only a part of me. A small part of me. But, it is a part of me. And if you or anyone else doesn’t or can’t except or respect that, then you neither except or respect me.”

I take a quick breath.

“Well, I think I’ve said enough. I’ll just get off my soapbox.”

“Son, I didn’t mean to upset you. All I want is what’s best for you.”

“Dad, I appreciate that. But, as your son, you know that I’m not going to accept anything unless it’s the best.”

We then slip into silence. Two minutes later my mother walks in through the glass doors onto the porch.

“Well, I’m glad there are no casualties out here,” my mother says jokingly.

“We were just doing some catching up, Elizabeth,” my father says, getting up from his chair. He kisses her on the forehead.

“Well, you’re neglecting your guests and dinner is about to be served, so let’s go into the dining room.”

The three of us walk into the house towards the dining room. I can see Minna in the middle of a conversation with Kasha. I knew I would have to put out yet another fire so I walk towards the both of them and catch the tail end of the conversation.

“Oh I already knew he was gay.” Minna says “And that doesn’t bother you?” Kasha asks. “No, why should it?”

“I don’t know, it bothered me knowing that he has sex with men.”

“Well you see that the difference between you and I. It takes a strong woman who’s secure in herself to handle a man like Trevor.”

On that note I walked up behind Minna and place my arms around her waist. “Excuse me, Kasha, may I steal Minna away? It’s time for dinner”

Walking towards the dining area, I whispered in Minna’s ear. “What was that all about?”

“Just playing my role.”

“Well, then, update me,” I said pulling out her chair at the table.

“Evidently, sister girl still wants you bad, because she tried to bad mouth you to me. So whenever she said anything negative, I made sure I let her know that there’s nothing she can say that’s going to change the way I feel about my honey bunny. Believe me the girl is green with envy.”

“You know what’ll make her head spin?” “No, what?”

“If we feed each other.”

We both laughed

The rest of the evening went smoothly. Minna and I played our little soap opera to the hilt. I could see the fire in Kasha’s eyes when Minna fed me some of her desert.

On the ride to Minna’s apartment, we laughed as we replayed the night’s events. I really didn’t think it was going to be this much fun.

I pulled up in front of her building and parked.

“So, did you make any business contacts at all tonight?” I asked.

“Actually I did make quite a few. I really do need to thank you. I had a great time.” “No, it was my pleasure. I don’t think I’ve had this much fun in a long time.”

“Well, Ms. Kasha gave us plenty of material. May I ask you a personal question?” “Sure, shoot.”

“How long have you known you were gay?”

“I guess for most of my life. It’s not something that happens overnight.” “So you knew when you were engaged with Kasha?”

“Yes.”

“Then why get engaged?”

“Well, I was honestly in love with Kasha. I thought maybe I would either grow out of it or being with Kasha would change me. I know I hurt Kasha and everyone else. I mean, I was called selfish and the whole bit. But, I wasn’t going to get married and then follow on those feelings afterwards. That isn’t me. Once I’ve made the commitment to someone, I stick to it. I knew the strong feelings I had wouldn’t just go away, so I canceled the engagement.”

“Well, I have to admire you for that.”

“It really isn’t anything to admire. It was the right thing to do.”

“I know, but I’m sure anyone else in your position would have buckled under the pressure from Kasha and your family. And by the way Kasha was acting tonight, I can see how she could’ve been a handful.”

“You ain’t said nuttin there. But you know what really ticks me off?” “No, what?”

“Well, it’s just that people in general seem to think that this was all just a choice.?”

“It is, isn’t it?”

“Think about it Minna. Why would any gay person, yet alone a gay black male like myself, want to choose this lifestyle. It’s hard enough being black in America with the bigotry and hatred from different races, but as a black gay male I have to contend with that and also my family and my community. I know most of it is out of ignorance. And I learned a long time ago that ignorance has the letters i-g-n-o-r in it, so that’s what I’ve had to do, ignore it. But, believe me, if there was a choice in the matter, I would choose to be straight. No, no, I take that back. Because if I were straight, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I don’t know, but I just feel that as a gay male, I’m more sensitive to people. I try to empathize with their problems. I try to picture myself in their shoes. I can relate to women more freely than a straight man.”

“So you’re saying if you were straight, you wouldn’t be like this?”

“I don’t know. I’m sure there are some straight brothers who are in touch with their feminine side. But you and I both know that there is a shortage. I mean I have the same problems women have with men.”

“Ho, ho, I don’t know if I’m ready to hear this.”

“That’s cool. I’ve said enough anyway. But, you’ll come around.” “How can you be so sure?”

“Well, if we’re going to be working together, we’re bound to have this conversation again.”

“Trevor, I like you. I think you’re a very passionate, gifted man. But this may take some time getting used to.”

“No problem if you’re the open-minded person that I think you are; you may not understand it fully, but you’ll come to realize that there’s more to being gay than the stereotype.”

“Well, I can already see that. Again, I had a great time tonight. So, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow. Goodnight.”

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