Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Pred. & Preach. Daughter - Ch. 10

Marcos only got a few feet closer to the area where Chasity was before yet another person stopped him. This time it was a single-parent friend of his who lived down the street with his ten-year-old son that everyone affectionately called Junior since he was named after his father.

Dr. Rowe Trayne brought his son to the party today for multiple purposes. This party gave his rambunctious only child another opportunity to socialize with his peers. It also gave Rowe a chance to scout for a potential second wife among the single women who’d brought their children today as well.

While Marcos had been afraid of commitment for years, Rowe had enjoyed being married and had been very disappointed when his first wife left him for another man due to his hectic work schedule. Fortunately, the former Mrs. Trayne left him custody of their child and that kept Rowe from being too lonely during his free hours. However, the competent physician still craved the companionship of a woman at times and, unfortunately; he was craving the companionship of the same woman that Marcos had his eye on today.

“Look here, Marcos. Who’s the new lady over there with your niece? From what I can see, she’s beautiful, has no ring on her finger, and seems to love children a lot. A woman like that just might be the perfect second wife for me. Can you introduce a lonely brother to your sister’s new friend?” Rowe inquired with a friendly smile upon his cinnamon-skinned face. He took two of his fingers and smoothed down his thick brows in anticipation of meeting the beautiful stranger in question.

Hot jealousy coursed through Marcos’ veins at the very thought of Chasity with another man. Could he introduce Rowe to Chasity? Rowe had no idea how close he’d just come to a knock-down, drag-out fight by asking that insidious question. Taking a deep breath to calm himself, Marcos planted the semblance of a smile upon his face and finally gave the man a reply.

“Chasity’s already taken, man,” he said, unclenching his fists at his sides by sheer willpower. Relax, man, Marcos told himself.

“By whom? Anyone I know?” Rowe inquired further, wanting to size up the competition. After all, he was a handsome, well-educated, financially secure physician and considered to be one of Bennington’s most eligible bachelors. Surely he could boot almost any man out of the running for Chasity’s favor.

Marcos’ ebony pools grew hard as flint as he stared intently into the other man’s walnut brown eyes. “By me,” he replied bluntly. Then he stalked off towards to the house, looking for the coldest drink of water he could find. Marcos needed something to help cool his temper down; lest he ruin the good friendship he had with La’Charity’s pediatrician in a jealous outburst.

I wish somebody had told me this sooner, Rowe thought, watching how stiff Marcos’ broad shoulders were as he walked away.

Marcos was not a man to run up on all willy-nilly or a man that would take kindly to another fellow moving in on his territory. In fact, most people knew that Mr. Valdez was either a great friend to have or a formidable enemy to cross. The majority chose to come into alliance with him, both personally and professionally, especially since Marcos already owned most of the prime real estate in Bennington and had barely been there for five years.

“Sorry about that, man,” Rowe said to Marcos’ departing back. When the ebony-eyed architect suddenly stopped and looked backwards with a smile of forgiveness upon his face, the pediatrician smiled back, knowing that all was well between them again.

********

Around dusk, people started to leave, taking some happy and some very tired children home with them. Marjorie stood by the paved driveway near the Ireland family van, waving to a few of her departing guests as they drove away. Behind her, Marcos and her boys were busy playing basketball. It was obvious that Jaleel Jr. (aka J.J.), Juan, and Lee still had energy to burn and their athletic uncle was helping them consume it. The girls were still somewhere on the property with Chasity. Nakiya and La’Charity seemed to be captivated by the newest female in the family and had hardly let the woman out of their sight all day.

I’m surprised good old Uncle Marcos ain’t somewhere near Chasity, too, Marjorie thought humorously as she recalled how often Marcos’ eyes had followed his college sweetheart around today. When big sister cornered him about it a few hours ago in a quiet section of the house, little brother had whispered one of his most shameful secrets to her.

Marcos’ exact words were, ‘Since Chasity is the only woman to ever make me cry like a baby after sex, I’m not going to stop pursuing her until she is finally Mrs. Valdez. No man in his right mind should let a woman who can affect him to that degree get away’.

At that point, a wide-eyed Marjorie gave Marcos her nod of approval and admonished him to steer clear of Karis since she didn’t seem at all willing to go quietly in the night and might even throw a monkey wrench into his optimistic wedding plans with Chasity.

I just hope you listen to me, little brother, Marjorie thought as she glanced briefly across the street and saw Karis sitting on the green metal decorative bench on her front porch. It was clear that the woman was watching and waiting for Marcos to finish his game so that she could have a few private words with him before he went home. How desperate can one woman be? Marjorie mused with disgust as she turned to go back inside to join her husband in the cleanup portion of the evening.

********

Unknown to Marjorie or her brother, Chasity was watching Marcos, too. She and the girls were standing on the patio, leaning on the safety rails while watching the athletes shoot hoops on the left side of the house near the exterior door that led to the den. The males couldn’t see them because of the privacy shrubs aligning the backyard, but the girls could clearly see the basketball area from their position due to the fact that the patio area was slightly elevated above the thick shrubbery.

Nakiya and La’Charity were taking turns interpreting what the athletes were saying since the males were speaking both verbally and through sign language. Lee and Marcos were on the same team against Jaleel Jr. and Juan and it was definitely an animated game with lots of trash-talking and laughter.

“Uncle Marcos just told Lee to watch his back, because J.J. is a B-Ball thief and loves to steal the ball from the right,” La’Charity said, excited about being of service to Miss Chasity. Unfortunately, Lee did not heed his uncle’s advice and soon the opposing team had the ball and had scored another basket through a fanciful lay-up performed by Juan who’d quickly been passed the ball from his B-Ball stealing older brother.

“Uncle Marcos just told Lee that that’s okay. That they’re still in the lead and better luck next time,” Nakiya stated. Although she’d wanted to be the only interpreter in this pastime, Miss Chasity had graciously suggested that the girls alternate that task which is what they were doing now.

“Very good,” Chasity remarked, for lack of anything else to say as she watched Marcos with a growing sense of admiration. That warm feeling only grew stronger as she took careful note of how supportive he was of his ten-year-old nephew/teammate through word and deed. How he constantly patted the deaf young man on the back whether he made the basket in or not. How he consistently showered Lee with encouraging words even when he went astray like he just did by not adhering to instruction. In fact, Marcos was acting like a true uncle to all the boys by playing ball with them. There was no telling how wonderful he’d be as a father.

Oh my God, Chasity mused, suddenly reminded of the fact that Marcos was a father. In fact, he was her child’s father, which meant that she would have to deal with him on some level for the rest of her life. Then while the girls continued to interpret for her, Chasity prayed to God for strength, knowing that she would definitely need it when faced with the likes of Marcos Valdez on an ongoing basis.

© 2006 Suprina Frazier

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