Thought I’d share a scene from BAD HABITS. Hope you like it:
Keon called me before lunch on Monday.
“Mom and Dad are here with Tyson. Everyone else is busy with something. Do you have time to look at a few different condos with us?”
“I can be at your place in half an hour.” I hadn’t taken a shower and was dressed in stretch exercise pants and a T-shirt. I’d pulled my long, copper hair back in a ponytail, but he’d seen me looking worse. I was no beauty like Gabbie. She could go makeup free and still look gorgeous. Not me. Even with makeup, I only had a fifty-fifty shot.
“Am I pulling you away from your writing?” He cared about stuff like that.
“It’ll be here when I get back. No little fairies are going to come and finish my article for me, but I haven’t seen your parents for months. Warn them I look a mess.”
His chuckle reverberated over the phone. “You can’t scare us off that easy.”
“See you soon.” I ended the conversation, grabbed my purse, and hurried to the garage. A few minutes later, I was on my way to his apartment. He lived on the south side of town like I did in an apartment complex close to shops, grocery stores, and his restaurant Seafood and Catfish.
I thought his apartment had an inconvenient layout. It had two large bedrooms, but he had to climb inside steps to reach his living area. I’d helped him carry up groceries when he’d volunteered to make me a scallop dinner once, and it was a chore. He thought the view from his balcony was worth it. I wasn’t so sure.
“I don’t live on a manmade pond like you do,” he’d told me. “Our pond is in the distance, and I can only see it from the second floor.”
When I got there and saw his van in the parking lot, I noticed his parents’ Chevy Impala beside it. It took me a few minutes to find a spot, and then I zipped to knock on his door. His mom opened it and held out her arms to me. I stepped into them.
“Look at you!” She shook her head. “You ain’t gonna catch no man runnin’ around lookin’ like that.”
I laughed. “I’m not looking today. The only people I wanted to see were you and Leroy.”
“What about me?” a voice asked from behind her. “No love for me?”
I craned my neck to see Tyson. He was thinner than the last time I’d seen him. “You’ve lost weight. It’s a good thing it’ll be Easter soon. You need to fill up on some good food.”
He winced, and I felt bad. I was as bad as Terrance. Words popped out of my mouth before I edited them. Probably not the best thing to say to an addict trying to get clean.
“Excuse me!” Cecily put her hands on her hips, a smile curving her lips. “I seem to remember a skinny little thing eatin’ plenty of my vittles. Tyson here’s harder to tempt, rarely has an appetite.”
I licked my lips remembering Mrs. Johnson’s fried chicken and collard greens. Keon served greens with his catfish suppers, probably his mom’s recipe.
“Did I hear little Lux Millhouse?” Leroy Johnson asked, coming toward us with Keon, who grabbed the last suitcase near the foyer and carried it upstairs to the spare bedroom.
“I’m so glad you came,” I told the three of them.
Mr. Johnson’s brows dipped in a frown. “We gotta talk, girl. Keon told us that you and our four hellions plan on makin’ up the difference to buy us a condo. That’s a sweet thought, but ain’t no reason for you to throw your money at us like that.”
I raised my chin, locking gazes with him. “Growing up, no one bothered to come looking for me when I didn’t come home after school, because they knew I’d be at your place. You gave me a home, so if I want to chip in on giving you one, I can.”
Laughing, he shook his head. “Always were a little spitfire. No wonder you and Keon kept bumping heads. He’s always been plenty opinionated, too.”
Coming to join us, Keon shook his head. “Don’t compare me to her. I was raised better.” Turning to his mother, he asked, “Anything else to carry in? Or are you settled?”
“A movin’ van’s bringin’ everything else when we find a place to stay,” she told him.
With a nod, he motioned to the door. “Then let’s look at some condos.”