Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Miss Opportunity - Ch. 31.2

After dinner, Cami and Little Man tended to the kitchen clean up. Frank and Millsap retired to the den with steaming coffee mugs in their hands. Rain had settled upon the city yet again.

“Did you know that coffee is the most consumed beverage in Seattle?” Frank asked as he and Millsap took seats across from one another. The older man in the brown leather recliner on the west wall. The younger man on the matching loveseat on the east wall.

“Actually, I did, sir,” Millsap replied. “Which is probably why coffee companies like Starbucks, Seattle’s Best Coffee, and Tully’s were either founded here or based here.”

Frank nodded, impressed by his knowledge on that issue. What else did this young man know about Seattle? He was about to find out.

“Did you also know that Seattle was ranked as the most literate city of sixty-nine largest cities in the U.S. for two years straight?” Frank asked, continuing to put Millsap to the intellectual test. He’d already put him through the how-do-you-really-feel-about-my-daughter-and-grandson test over dinner. Both of which had been passed, though they’d been subtly given.

Millsap nodded. “I believe those years were 2005 and 2006, right, sir?”

“Right,” Frank replied, even more impressed by the young man.

“Unfortunately, Minneapolis beat you guys out in 2007,” Millsap continued, on a roll now. “But second is still pretty impressive in my book. And the fact that over 51% of the twenty-five and older crowd has at least a bachelor’s degree is even more reason to be proud of your beautiful city.”

“That it is.” Frank smiled, once again impressed by his daughter’s new beau. “Now that we’ve done the small talk thing, let’s get down to the real business at hand.”

Millsap chuckled and took a sip of his hot coffee. He’d known what time it was all along. Was inwardly pleased that he’d passed yet another test from Cami’s father. Even so, he was smart enough to know that the tests weren’t quite over yet.

“Young man, I suspect that you had a hand in my daughter’s recent turnaround. Is that true?” Frank said, after a sip of his own coffee.

“Only a small hand, sir,” Millsap replied modestly.

Frank looked doubtful. “I know my daughter, son. For Cami to be so focused now, working steadily, and moving into a nice house after only four months in Enfield, it has to be because of some man. Especially since men have been Cami’s sole source of motivation since she was a teenager. Unfortunately.” His eyes grew sad.

“If a man is motivating your daughter now, it must be Little Man, because Cami was already turning her life around, had already decided to do what she could to get her son back when I reentered her life. I simply fell in line with her plans,” Millsap replied, respecting the older man for being so straightforward with him now. Before Frank had been more guarded and restrained, perhaps on account of his military background, or maybe simply by the fact that he was a concerned father and grandfather.

“I didn’t know that. That’s very good to hear,” Frank replied with a proud smile. “By the way, how did you meet Cami?”

“Actually, your niece Dee introduced us a while back,” Millsap said, continuing in the honest lane. “At the time Cami was not my type due to her overall attitude about life. She was too materialistic for my tastes.”

“That she was,” Frank inserted with another touch of sadness. “Her mother was the same way. Still is last I heard.”

“Sorry to hear that, sir,” Millsap said, understanding that type of sadness since he felt the same way about his own mother. “Anyway, when Cami got out of prison, we ran into each other at a gas station. I saw how much she’d changed, so I gave her a job at one of my clubs. Nature kind of took its course from there.” He smiled and added, “Your daughter is rather beautiful, sir.”

“That she is,” Frank replied, smiling, too. “So you know about Cami’s stint in prison, huh?” His face quickly grew serious again.

“Yes, and I could care less about it. As long as Cami keeps doing right by me, I’m going to keep doing right by her,” Millsap said, meeting the older man’s gaze head-on.

“A man can’t ask for much more than that from a woman.” Frank’s smile returned. “But tell me this. What would you do if my daughter ever does wrong by you? After all, nobody is perfect.”

Millsap thought for a moment. Took another sip of his dark brew. “If it is intentional wrong, I’m gone. If it’s accidental, I’ll hang in there and work things out with her.”

Frank smiled at his honesty. “Sounds like a man after my own heart,” he said, fully won over to the young man now. As a result, he asked Millsap to reside at the house this weekend, forgoing his room at the hotel.

“You really want Millsap to spend the weekend here, Daddy?” Cami suddenly asked from her place near the doorway. She’d left Little Man in the kitchen sweeping the floor since everything else was done.

“I don’t see why not,” Frank replied, giving his daughter a smile before turning to Millsap. “Except you are not allowed to sleep in the same bedroom as Cami for obvious reasons. You can sleep on the sofa bed in here since Little Man’s spare bunk bed is simply too small for a man of your size.”

Millsap took a moment to think about his choices. A part of him wanted to sleep over. The other part didn’t. That latter part focused on the fact that if Millsap slept over, he and Cami would not be able to make love this weekend out of respect for her father’s house.

On the other hand, what if this was yet another test? A test to see if Millsap could practice restraint and not make the bulk of his relationship with Cami about frequent sex.

Millsap had two choices before him. Which would he choose?

© 2008 by Suprina Frazier

No comments: