A Love Like This

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The Bet

 I see Tucker everywhere and he’s always accompanied by a gaggle of giggling girl.  I didn’t realize such smart women could act so silly.  Of course I’m no exception, he smiles at me and I get all flustered.  Right now I’m standing in the doorway of the library watching the rain come down in buckets.  I’m about to make a run for it and brave the rapids when I hear a deep sexy voice boom from behind me.  “Waiting for a boat,” he says.  I turn and there he is again flashing those dimples at me. 

 “No I’m waiting for a chivalrous man to sweep me off my feet and carry me to my room,” I blurt before I can stop myself. 

Tucker steps closer to me.  I open my mouth and rack my brain for something cleaver to say.  He bends down and scoops me into his arms then steps out into the rain quickly walking towards the dorms.  I really should protest but my face is just inches away from his and all I want to do is rest my head on his shoulder and pledge my undying love.

“Are you ok?  He asks looking over at me. You look as if you might be having a stroke.” 

“I’m rarely at a loss for words,” I say, “but you caught me off guard.”

“Was that chivalrous enough for you?”  Tucker says as he gently lowers me to my feet under an awning.  He inhales deeply before removing his arm from my waist. 

 “Did you just sniff me?” I ask with phony indignation.  His face reddens slightly which makes me feel more comfortable for some reason.   “So do I tip you?”  I ask.

He rakes his fingers through his damp curls, raises an eye brow and gives me a sheepish grin.  Tucker reaches for my hand and a ball of fire forms around my belly button and gets lower as he pulls me closer.  “Yeah you can tip me but I don’t want money.”  He opens my hand and brushes a finger across my palm. 

I swallow hard and ask, “Then what do you want?” He pulls me a little closer and my heart races.  We are standing toe to toe and Tucker is gazing into my eyes like a scene from a soap opera.  He opens his mouth to speak but before he can say another word he’s interrupted by one of the groupies.

“Oh Doctor Bradley,” her shrill voice cry’s out like nails on a chalkboard, “you’re so gallant.”  Of course she’s a tall gorgeous blond who I now officially hate.  She walks right between us as if I’m invisible.  I pull my hand away from his and ball my fists but I’m pretty sure the university would frown on me beating a giant debutant.  So I turn to walk away seething with anger.

“Leila wait,” he say reaching for my arm.

I pull away, “I’ll see you around Doctor Bradley,” I say with a hint of sarcasm which I hope hides my disappointment. 

Back in the dorm room I change out of my wet clothes and take out my journal.  I write, No more lusting after Tucker.  There are too many other women to contend with; besides I need to keep my eyes on the prize.  I close the book resolute then start studying with new found determination.  When my eyes start to cross from reading for so long I call Keisha.  She tells me that little DJ her oldest son made honor roll despite the fact that he curses like a comedian from Def Comedy Jam and is constantly fighting.  She also tells me a bunch of funny stories about the crazy things her kids have done since I’ve been gone.  When she asks what I’ve been up to I tell her about my classes and assignments.  I don’t bother mentioning Tucker.  I know the first thing she’ll say is, “aren’t there any brothah’s in Berkeley?”  Even though I’ve never dated outside my race I don’t have any qualms about it.   Everyone should find love where they can.  We talk for hours and when I finally get to bed I’ve forgotten all about Tucker and the debutant. 

However, my anger resurfaces when I wake up the next morning.  I’m sitting up in bed wishing I had taken a swing at the blond.  The anger dissipates and fades to a distant memory when I see a package that Sarah must have left on my desk in the middle of the night.  It’s from my uncle and it’s filled with clothes that I believe he meant to send to a high priced call girl.  A black form fitting dress with an asymmetric hemline, a backless white dress and pants that I assume would hang so low on my hips that my butt crack will show with each step I take.  I guess he thinks I’ll get A’s in my classes if I flash the professors a peak at my lady lumps. I like playing dress up in all the clothes that my uncle Pookie sends but I’m starting to see the value in just being comfortable. 


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