Cami received an unexpected invitation to attend Bonz and Racker’s Christmas party. Since the two men stopped going to the Playas Ball that they founded in
Instead of surrounding themselves with animated hustlers, street thugs, and strippers the third Saturday of every December, the two men surrounded themselves with close relatives and friends in a party that spanned a total of eight hours.
The first half of the Christmas party was geared mostly towards the children. It involved a semi-carnival being erected in Racker’s large backyard, which was now the size of a small baseball field due to the extra acreage he’d acquired over the years.
The second half of the event was a formal adults-only affair. It was held at Bonz and Aisha’s renovated home, which was fondly known as a ‘semi-mansion’ by their friends because they combined two houses into one after buying the property next door to them.
Cami’s invitation was extended to her family as well, which included Little Man and Frank, who were visiting for the holidays. It also included Millsap since everyone knew that they were exclusively dating by now.
Because the party was on the same day as the annual Playas Ball, Cami and Millsap came to a compromise. They would attend the first part of Bonz and Racker’s party and then leave in time to change for the Playas Ball.
The ex-generals went all out for the first half of their party, providing real carnival rides, real carnival food, and real carnival games for their guests. Cami was not surprised by the extravagance. Bonz and Racker had always believed in doing it up big at events.
What did surprise Cami was the way everyone treated her and Millsap. Instead of looking down at them because they were not Christians like everybody else, they fully embraced them into the fold, treating them with the utmost respect. Even Royal, who had been offended by both Cami and Millsap at some point, was very cordial to them. He even invited them to go on a double date with him and Delia before they left town. The whole thing almost brought tears to Cami’s eyes.
What did bring tears to her eyes was how happy Little Man was. Yes, he was happy to see all of his cousins from
Frank seemed comfortable at Cami’s house, too. However, he shared how uncomfortable he was with her sleeping in the same room with Millsap while he was there. Especially with them being unmarried. But that since this was her home and with her rules in place, he wouldn’t make a big deal of it. Especially since Cami could be doing a lot worse with her life and could be involved with a less acceptable man.
Unable to stay for the second half of today’s party, Cami and Millsap said their goodbyes and proceeded with their evening plans around sunset. Since Mama Ingram was keeping the Forsyth children during the adult-only party as well as Royal and Delia’s children, Little Man asked if he could accompany them.
Cami consulted her father on the matter since he still had guardianship of her son. Frank agreed, but only if he could tag along. He claimed he wanted to help Mama Ingram out with all the children that had been left in her care for the evening. Cami was convinced that he had a crush on Mama Ingram. She told Millsap as much on their way home.
“I think my daddy likes Mama Ingram,” Cami said, resting comfortably against the leather passenger seat of his city vehicle.
Millsap chuckled. “I think so, too. It wouldn’t be the first time a younger man was attracted to an older woman. You’re two years older than me and look at us.”
“You’re right. My aunt Valena is five years older than her husband. Even still, at sixty-four, Mama Ingram is nine years older than my father. He might be all right with it, but she might not be.”
“It’s still too early yet to tell. Give it some time,” Millsap advised before changing the subject completely. “By the way, I had a really great time with everybody today. Even though Bonz and Racker have definitely changed a lot in so many ways, them brothas still just as cool as ever. I didn’t feel out of place at all. I almost didn’t want to leave. Them sanctified Christians know how to have fun.” He chuckled and added, “Shoot, if I wasn’t a general and needed to make an appearance at the Playas Ball tonight, I would have stayed for the second half of Bonz and Racker’s shindig.”
“I was thinking the same thing.” Cami laughed. “I didn’t want to say anything ‘cause I didn’t know how you’d feel about it.”
“Bonz’s house ain’t too far from here. You wanna go squeeze in a dance or two before we go to our own gig?”
“Yeah!” Cami said eagerly. “I kinda wanted to see what they’ve done to the inside of the place anyway.” Though she’d seen the outside of the Forsyth home several times when dropping Mama Ingram off there, she’d never been inside.
“Me, too.” Millsap promptly took a left and headed for Bonz and Aisha’s home. “It might give me ideas about which new features to add to my own house.”
“Which house are you talking about? The one I live in? Or one of your rental properties?” Cami asked.
“The house I own in the country,” Millsap replied, finally telling her about his place of refuge.
“You have a house in the country?” Cami turned in her seat to face him. This was the first she’d heard anything about him having a country home. Irritation set in as she wondered why this was the first time she’d heard of that home.
“Yep. I had it built from the ground up. I haven’t been there in a while though on account of you.” Millsap grinned over at her. “I barely want to go to my apartment since we hooked up. The reason for that is because wherever you are feels like home to me. I find refuge in your presence now instead of just at my country home.”
Cami smiled, liking what he’d said, but still slightly irritated about being kept out of the loop about his other home all this time. Did Daysha know about Millsap’s country home? Had she ever been there before? Cami sure hadn’t.
“I told you to just move in with me. Most of your clothes are already there as it is,” Cami replied, trying to push past her irritation.
“No.” Millsap firmly shook his head. “Us shacking up won’t look good in the court’s eyes for your son.” He returned his focus to the road. “Besides, I think everybody needs their own space. That way when we get tired of one another, we can have separate places to go and regroup.”
“Planning on getting tired of me anytime soon?” Cami asked, on pins and needles with that question.
“No.” Millsap looked over at her again, discerning the sudden seriousness of the moment. “I love you, Cami. I want to be with you for as long as I can.”
“Then why do you still have Daysha blowing up your cell phone?” Cami asked, finally dealing with something that had been nagging her for months now. “What could the two of you possibly have to talk about after all these months? At least three times a week at that.”
Millsap frowned as two slabs of dread and distrust slid into his heart. Was the old Cami back? He hoped not.
© 2008 Suprina Frazier