Solid Soul(9)

By: Brenda Jackson

After taking a sip of water, she said, “The day the nurse brought Tiffany to me for the first time after I’d given birth to her, I gazed down at my beautiful daughter and knew I had made the right decision, no matter how my parents felt.”

“Did they eventually come around to your way of thinking?”

“Years later when they realized they were denying themselves the chance to get to know their granddaughter. But at first they wanted me to know what a mistake I’d made in keeping her. They’d intended to teach me a lesson. I couldn’t move back home so I continued to live with my friend’s family until I was able to get an apartment at seventeen. I finished high school at night while working at a grocery store as a cashier during the day. My best friend, who also became Tiffany’s godmother, kept her at night so I could finish school. It was hard but I was determined to make it work. After high school, I went to college and I struggled for years as a single parent before I finally earned a degree. I got a management position and later purchased a modest home for me and Tiffany.”

“What made you decide to move here?”

“The company where I worked as a supervisor decided to downsize. My position was no longer needed so they gave me a pretty nice severance package. Instead of seeing losing my job as the end of the world, I decided to turn it into an opportunity to do something I’d always wanted to do.”

“Open up a florist shop?”

“Yes. The reason I decided on Charlotte was that Lena had moved here after college and I liked the area the couple of times I’d come to visit her.”


“Helena Spears, my best friend from high school.”

Chance smiled. “Helena Spears? I’ve met her on several occasions. She’s a Realtor in town and is very active with the Cancer Society. I think her father died of the disease some years ago.”

“He did, when Lena was fourteen. In recent years her mother has taken ill. I admire Lena for taking on the responsibility of her mother’s care the way she has.”

Kylie leaned back in her chair. “So knowing my history, Chance, I hope you can understand why I don’t want Tiffany to make the same mistakes I did. I don’t have anything against your son personally. I’m sure he’s a fine young man. I just don’t think he and Tiffany are ready for any sort of a relationship just yet.”

“And I totally agree. So what do you think we should do?”

“I think we should meet with them, tell them our feelings, let them know we understand how they feel, or how they think they feel, since we were young once. But we should try to do whatever we can to slow down things between them. They’re moving too fast. One day I didn’t even know Marcus existed and now my daughter is claiming to be madly in love with him.”

When the waitress came back to take their order, Chance glanced over at Kylie. “You’re still not hungry?”

Kylie smiled. “Yes, in fact I think I’m going to try a hamburger and fries.”

Chance returned her smile. “I think I will, too.”

“I’m glad we had our little talk,” Chance said as he walked Kylie to her car an hour or so later.

“So am I,” she said honestly, although the whole time she’d sat across from him she’d had to fight back her drool. She was amazed at the thoughts that had crept into her mind. Thoughts of how Chance Steele had to have one of the sexiest mouths she’d ever seen. And the type of physique that drew feminine attention. Watching him eat had been quite an ordeal. She’d had to fight the urge to squirm in her seat each time he bit into his hamburger. Her attraction to him was truly bizarre, considering the real problem was finding a way to keep their kids in line.

But she would be crazy not to acknowledge that she was drawn to him in a way she hadn’t been drawn to a man in years. Sexual longings were something she hadn’t had to deal with for quite some time. Being in Chance’s company she had been reminded of just how long it had been.

“So we’ve decided that I’m to bring Marcus over to your place for Sunday dinner so the four of us can sit down and talk,” he said when they reached her car.

“Yes, that’s the plan.”

“And I think it’s a good one. We need to talk to them, but even more importantly, we need to let them talk to us. And no matter what, we’re going to have to keep our cool, even when we’d like nothing better than to ring their little necks. The situation we’re dealing with calls for strategy and tact, not anger.”

She tilted her head up and looked at him. “Strategy and tact I can handle, but it’s going to be hard keeping my anger in check,” she said, thinking of the conversation she’d had with Tiffany that morning before the girl had left for school. Her daughter was intent on being stubborn, no matter what.