“Oh!” his mother exclaimed in surprise. “You’re not my son.” Her voice was warm and inviting with a slight country twang to it like she was from the South.
Keeley chuckled. “No ma’am, I am definitely not.”
“Well then darlin’, who might you be?” the feminine voice questioned.
“My name’s Keeley, ma’am,” she answered.
“Pish posh! None of that ma’am business,” she kindly scolded. “I may be a mother, but I don’t have any grey hairs yet. Call me Darlene, suga’.”
Keeley was taken back by the woman’s friendliness. This was Talon’s mother? Keeley wasn’t sure what she expected when she answered the phone, but it certainly wasn’t this. “Yes, ma’-,” Keeley caught herself in time, “I mean Darlene,” Keeley corrected.
“Now that we have the introductions out of the way, do you mind telling me why you are answering my son’s phone?” she demanded.
Keeley grinned at her bluntness. The woman may be friendly but she didn’t hold back the candor. Keeley admired that. She quickly explained how she and Talon ended up switching phones.
“Well fiddlesticks!” Talon’s mom exclaimed.“That’s quite a predicament you two have gotten in. He should have left it with me. I could have met you and exchanged the phones. Now you have to go a week with each others.”
Keeley’s grin turned into a wide smile. This was the opening she was hoping for. She sighed heavily, making sure Darlene knew she was distressed. “The thing is…” Keeley purposefully paused and pretended to falter, “…well I..”
“What is it darlin’? You can tell me,” Darlene encouraged, sounding worried.
Keeley felt a twinge of guilt when she heard the woman’s concern but she brushed it aside and continued. “The thing is, I think Talon did this on purpose to get back at me.”
“Talon?” his mother questioned, her voice sounding surprised.
Oh the poor woman. She must be blinded by her love for him to not see his evil ways. “Yes, Talon,” Keeley confirmed.
“Did he ask you to call him that, suga’?” Darlene asked bizarrely.
Keeley frowned at the question. This was not the reaction she was expecting. “Uh…yes,” Keeley answered, though it sounded more like a question than a statement. “Is that a problem?” her voice hesitant. Was she not suppose to call him that?
Darlene murmured something under her breath. “No, not at all. I’m just surprised,” she stated. Before Keeley could question why, Darlene asked, “So, what is this about my son getting back at you?”
Keeley opened her mouth to respond, but the words were caught in her throat. She couldn’t throw Talon under the bus like that. It was one thing to play a prank on him in front of his friends, but it was another thing to lie to his mother.
“Darlin’? You there?” Darlene prompted.
“Uh…well..you see…” Keeley stuttered, at a loss for words.
“That boy,” Darlene sighed. “He did something to you didn’t he?” she guessed correctly. “Just like his daddy. Always letting his emotions rule him rather than his head. Well, that and his one-eyed snake.”
Keeley was so surprised by the last sentence that she ended up choking on her own saliva. Did his mother really just say that? She coughed, trying to clear her throat.
Talon’s mother continued talking. “He was such a good boy growing up. He had such great manners, never talking back to his elders and always obeying orders. What happened? Where did I go wrong?” she lamented.