JASMINE

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Chapter 20 Man Better Man


Vaughn

I knocked on his office door, knowing he did not want anyone disturbing him while in his study. But I took my chances.

“Come in,” he growled.

My dad looked up at me and then continued to look down into his files, flipping the pages in annoyance. He looked like a man hunting for a receipt of something he needed to return but couldn’t find.

I paced his office, from corner to corner.

He looked up at me again, waiting for me to say something.

“Vaughn starts talking,” he said with even greater irritation.

I wanted to tell my dad that I had a problem. A girl problem. I wanted to speak to him about Jasmine. But for some reason I didn’t know where to begin.

My dad loves me. He loves his family. But he is a straight shooter. He had no time to cry over issues. Instead, he always says “if it can be fixed, fix it and stop worrying.”

He buried his head again in his documents as I continued to patrol the room.

“Vaughn get out of my office, I have work to do. Clearly you don’t” he said.

This was when I sat down on the chair next to him. He sighed, closing the files just to accommodate me

“Vaughn did you get someone pregnant? Is it money? God, Vaughn!!!! Are you sick? HIV? What on earth is it?”. This time he was yelling. My knees were shaking. Let’s face it…I am afraid of my father.

“Dad, it’s this girl….” That was all that I could say at the time.

“What about this girl,” he replied.

“I like her...,” I said.

“Vaughn, people like food…you mean you love this girl? Is that it?”

“Well…ok, yes…I think I love her…”

“Annnddd?” he said, looking at me sternly.

“And I think she is in love with someone else,” I blurted out.

My dad gave me another one of these looks that basically says, “That isn’t possible.”

“Son,” he said, “If you want this girl…whoever she is, then go get her. Do what you have to do. Man better man”

I have never heard my father say stuff like that before (man better man).

He grabbed his files again and continued to hunt the pages. technically he was saying to me to get the hell out.

I stood up. Straightened my shirt and left the office. Talking to my dad made me feel better in some kind of way. He said many things using limited words.

One thing that stood out to me…. “Man better man.”

I went to my bedroom, changed my clothes, grabbed a key on the kitchen counter and decided to pay Miss Jasmine a visit.

I would drive dad’s brand-new Hilux. He won’t know it’s missing before I returned.

I knew that it was almost 8 pm, and it was an unannounced visit, never mind an uninvited one, but I had to find her.

I drove to her house. I remembered it from that dreadful afternoon when we tried to gang…let me not even try to remember this.

When I arrived at her doorstep, I had no idea what I was going to say. I knew I would find the words somehow. It made no sense rehearsing anything, because, honestly, I was seriously blank.

Jasmine’s mother opened the door after several rings. She looked like she’d been sleeping. Who sleeps at 8:45 pm? Maybe normal people do. I guess I am not a normal person.

“Goodnight,” she said, letting out a big yawn, and looking at the timepiece on her wrist.

“Young man it’s late, why are you here?” she asked, looking puzzled.

I was about to open my mouth, but she queried, “Is Jasmine with you?”

I jumped at the sound of her name.

“No, she isn’t…I am actually here for her.”

Scratching her head, she opened the door to let me in. I walked behind her. I noticed she was dressed in her night gown. I felt bad going to Jasmine’s parent’s home at that time.

Jasmine’s mother is such a beautiful soul. She offered me something to drink, even though she appeared quite sleepy. I could see where Jasmine got her kindness.

“I don’t know where Jasmine is…she won’t pick up her cell. She didn’t inform me that she was going out. She’s probably not far from home,” she said.

“Well, ma’am, I won’t keep you waiting…I will see her at school tomorrow,” I said, rising from the chair.

“I will tell her you dropped by,” she said, following me to the door.

Where could Jasmine be at this hour? Why isn’t she home? How could she leave home without telling her mother? I am sure that she must be with this teacher. If he touches her, he won’t see the last of me.

As I turned the door knob, I realized that someone else had turned it at the same time.

Standing face to face with me was Jasmine. She was wearing a football jersey. She looked like she’d been crying.

Her eyes widened when she saw my face. Her mother was standing behind me.

“Young lady, where on earth have you been?” her mother asked in a grave tone.

I wanted to know, just as much as her inquiring mom. Jasmine looked nervous

“I was at my teacher’s house” she replied, pushing me to the side and running inside the house.

“Young man, go home…I need to speak to my daughter.”

What is she asking me to do? I can’t leave this house not knowing what happened to Jasmine. Why was she at that man’s home? Did he have sex with her? Did he take her virginity? That was supposed to be my duty. Why was she in his clothes? Where are her clothes? Why had she been crying?

My inner voice was driving me insane. Her mom pushed me out of the doorway and closed it in my face.

I went into my car and sat there, refusing to start the engine. I intended to find out what was going on. Jasmine is my girl. And as my father said, “Man better man.”

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