Chapter Forty Nine

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***

I left the locker room as discreetly as possible. Phew! That was a close one. I'd almost slept with Lucas a second time but I was saved by the gong which turned out to be a phone call from my mom. I'd stopped whatever I was doing with Lucas to answer her.

She announced to me the fact that the house had been robbed by thieves. And after that call, I made it clear to Lucas that I couldn't continue all this with him. It was wrong and I wasn't used to all of this. Plus, my mother wasn't safe back in Brooklyn. I needed to send her money.
--
Later that day, I sat in a restaurant out of campus. I needed to get some free space to think. Which I did.

"Harlem, you're better than this. You were brought up as an honest person." I thought to myself.

I decided to tell Rick the truth. I would make things easier and break up with him. Of course I would tell him why. I preferred to end up alone than with any of them. And that was because I realised I couldn't chose one over the other. I had feelings for both and had to give them up. It wasn't like I'd gotten a scholarship to come date guys. I had to work for my future. I had to make a name for my mother, where I came from and I. And I would. My feelings had no place now. I promised to wait patiently for Friday to call Kadij. Hopefully, she would want to buy some of my works.

***

Saturday, I sat impatiently and all nervous at the back of James' gallery. I'd called Kadij the day before and she was pleased. She organised for us to meet the next day at the gallery. Of course I was okay with it!

"Are you nervous?" James asked amused

"You know I am! She'll be here any minute from now." I said anxiously.

At that moment, we heard a car pull up at the front of the gallery.

"Is that her??" I asked, my heart beat increasing crazily.

"I'm seeing a limo. That's probably her. Stay here and don't forget to breath." James laughed, "Lemme go get her ."

I watched James go. I swear my knees began to shake. I couldn't help it but panic. My tummy rumbled and I felt a little dizzy. Oh gosh!

After some time, I heard people enter the gallery. James and Kadij! I heard her voice and panicked.

When she soon appeared in front of me, I couldn't believe it! I smiled stupidly and stood up with a stretched hand to greet her.

"Hello, Miss Koon." I managed to pronounce normal words.

She shook my hand, a warm smile on her lips.

"Hello, Harlem. I'm happy to meet you."

"Really? I'm happy to meet you!" I laughed and she smiled.

"That's nice. How bout we sit down and talk?"

"Yes, sure."

We took our seats and James left us to talk.

"As James probably told you, I really appreciate your art."

"Thank you very much. I'm flattered."

"You're one blessed artist."

I couldn't help it but smile stupidly. The Kadij Koon was complimenting me!

"Thank you so much."

"No need to thank me dear. That's why I'm here. To propose something to you."

"Yes, yes, yes, I'll paint as many portraits as you want!" I said happily and she laughed.

"Hahaha, yes dear."

"How many do you want to buy?"

"Buy? Oh no, no, no dear." she said amused. I stared at her in confusion.

"You don't wanna buy my paintings?"

"No, honey. I'm here to propose something better."

"Which is?"

She smiled at me.

"Harlem, would you allow me to make you a renown artist?"

I stared at her like I'd seen a ghost.

"Wh– what?"

"Yes, Harlem. I want you to attend my professional art school in Washington. I'll take care of everything for you. And I'll make you known."

I stared at her speechless.

"Harlem, would you love to have your paintings hung in the world's biggest galleries and museums?"

"Y– yes. Yes!!"

"All you gotta do is accept my offer and next week, we'll be on our way to Washington."

Oh my God! What was happening! This was great!

"Yes! Uh... but please give me time to tell my mother about it. I need her permission."

"Alright. And don't forget that you'll be taking your mother along if you accept my offer. You've got the whole weekend to think. Give me a call Sunday evening. Okay??"

"Yes, ma'am! Thank you so much!"

"Your welcome." she stood up, "You have my number. Call me when your decision is certain."

"Yes, I will!!" I stood up happily.

"If your mother accepts, know that everything will go on well for you."

"Thank you so much!" we shook hands one last time and I accompanied her back to her limo.

Once gone, I ran back into the gallery as happy as ever.

"AaaaaaAh! I can't believe it! James it's a miracle!" I screamed happily and ran into his arms. He laughed.

"You deserve it, Harl. Now the world will discover your talent."

"I'm so happy! My mother will be so happy! Yazz will be so happy! Oh this is wonderful! God is amazing!"

"This calls for celebration my dear. I have a cold bottle of champagne."

"Hurraaaay!"

I wouldn't sleep that night. I was way too happy. My mom would clearly accept. She had no choice. Yes! Yes! Yes! This was the perfect opportunity to make a name for myself and people from the streets like me.
It was a golden chance I couldn't ignore. No way.

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