He Listens (Chapter 20)

SERIES SUMMARY:  Kayla is on a quest to move beyond the hurt of her past as she realizes the impact that hurt has on her present and potential future. This is a modern tale of love that accounts the complexities of blending the lives of two thirty-somethings and all of their respective baggage.   Read to see if Kayla will finally share her secret, embrace something new, and most importantly exercise her faith.


..Continued – 

“I don’t want to overthink this Kareem, and believe me when I say that I am learning to live in the moment.  You are teaching me that, but I’ve never been serious about a man with a child before.  I feel rotten even saying it out loud because I love Jordan.  He’s such a great kid.  I guess I’m just nervous about it, you know I don’t do kids well.  I used to have a rule about men with children:  never date them.  I made an exception for you because I see the role you play in your son’s life.  I have never been able to understand fathers that just walk out.  Don’t they care at all?  Can’t they see the damage they do?  My father passed from cancer when I was nineteen.  And although some days it is just like yesterday for me, and I wish that we had more time, I can’t deny the impact that he had and still continues to have on my life.  I miss him so.  Our relationship was foundational.  Through it I learned what a man is and how he should treat his wife and kids.  But you know the crazy part about that is, even though my father did not chose to leave us, for a long time I blamed him as if he did.  For a long time after his death, I was mad at him.  Mad at the changes that his absence created.  I was away at school when my father passed.  And after the funeral and all the dust cleared, I felt guilty about going back to school.  I was torn.  I know that he would have wanted me to keep going, but my mother and little sister were a wreck.  I didn’t have time to truly mourn, because I had to take care of them as he did.  Andre was my rock during that time, we hadn’t been together long either. He was great.  He really held me up.  I don’t know what I would have done without him.  Perhaps that’s the reason that I hung onto him even after I knew it was over.  I just didn’t want to loose someone so close again, be it through disease or distance.”

“Don’t be overwhelmed Kay, let it be what it is, and tonight, let me hold you.  I promise, know freaky business, scout’s honor.  And by the way, I was a boy scout for five years.”

They both laugh.

“I noticed that you said that you love Jordan, but what about his father?”

“I love you too Kareem.”

He tries to hold in his smile as she grabs his hand and escorts him to her room.

Later that night, as Kareem sleeps Kayla wiggles her way out of his arms, leans over to her nightstand and pulls out her journal to write:

Dear God,

Today you answered my frequent prayer request.  Every night, I would ask of you to make me complete again and help me to find my way back to you.  When, I prayed for this, I never imagined that my breakthrough would come through my interaction with someone else.  I am embracing new things now.  It’s scary but exciting at the same time.  Most of all, I am no longer broken and  I am no longer lost.  This is not because I now have someone to love.  I am no longer lost or broken because I have learned how to love and what it is.  Thanks for that lesson, thank you for the guidance.  And the next time that I find myself in unfamiliar places without a compass and coming all apart in the seams, I’ll read this and know that in time, you’ll mend me and point me in the right direction.

THE END

© LaRonda Moore

*** He Listens Series Homepage.

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He Listens (Chapter 19)

SERIES SUMMARY:  Kayla is on a quest to move beyond the hurt of her past as she realizes the impact that hurt has on her present and potential future. This is a modern tale of love that accounts the complexities of blending the lives of two thirty-somethings and all of their respective baggage.   Read to see if Kayla will finally share her secret, embrace something new, and most importantly exercise her faith.


..Continued – 

“When we were sitting on the porch waiting for Karah to come, I looked in your face and could see that you were hurt.  That angered me.  That’s why I left.  I know that you told me that it was cool, but really it wasn’t.  You’ve opened up to me and shared your past pains, and I told you that I never want to contribute to any hurt or disappointment.  That includes drama.  I can’t promise perfect but I can promise commitment.  I just want to be with you.  Kayla, if I thought for one second that you would say yes, I would ask you to spend your life with me.  But I know that you’re not there yet.  I am though.  I’ve been sure from the first time I saw you.  I thought to myself, “I can’t approach her, what if she married, what if she’s in a relationship?”  But none of that mattered the longer I observed you.  I wanted you.  I think I loved you then.  I know my situation isn’t ideal.  I have baggage that you don’t.  My son is a gift but his mother is a punishment.”

“I have baggage too Kareem”, Kayla interjects.

“Let me finish baby, I know now is not the time for a proposal, so I’ll give you a proposition:  Don’t go to New York, stay here with me and let me love you.  Give me a chance, give us a chance.  Can you do that?”  Kayla takes Kareem’s hand, looks up at him, and with a small flood in her eyes, nods.  They sit there for a while and hold each other.

“Hey are you hungry?”

“I ate a little bit before I left, but what do you have a taste for?”

“I want some wings and chilli-cheese fries.”

“Looks like a Coney Island run, want me to go?”

“Nah, what time is it?  it’s too late for all of that, I’ll just eat some Fruit Loops”

Kareem chuckles, “Me too, I haven’t had Fruit Loops in years.”

They sit at her formal dinning table, right next to one another, eat cereal, and laugh over the day’s events.  And as Kayla is cleaning up the table and taking the dishes into the kitchen, Kareem speaks.

“Can I wake up with you in my arms?”

Kayla hesitates.  “I don’t know if I’m ready for that.”

“I just want to hold you.  I don’t want this night to end.”

“Kareem, I don’t think we should go there and I’m a little shocked that you asked.”

“What do you mean Kayla?”

“We just went to church this morning, today has been roller coaster, I just don’t think we should complicate it.”

“There’s no complication Kayla, I just want to hold you.  No funny stuff, no expectations.  I know that you are a Christian woman.  That is what drew me to you.  I respect that, I respect you.  I just want to hold you tonight, that’s all.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, of course I want to be with you, but in time – the right time.  I am in no rush.  I know that will happen.”

“Oh you know do you?”

“You know you want me.  Admit it, you want me bad.”

Kayla shakes her head laughing and walks into the kitchen.

“You are so silly.  Everything is not a joke Kareem.”

“I know but we’ve done enough heavy talk for one day don’t you think?”

“You’re right.”

The room grows still and Kayla knows that she has only moments to make her decisions.  Likewise, she knows that it’s been longer than she cares to remember since she laid down or woke up with a man and for the first time in a long time, she is in unchartered waters.

To be continued…

© LaRonda Moore

*** He Listens Series Homepage.

He Listens (Chapter 18)

SERIES SUMMARY:  Kayla is on a quest to move beyond the hurt of her past as she realizes the impact that hurt has on her present and potential future. This is a modern tale of love that accounts the complexities of blending the lives of two thirty-somethings and all of their respective baggage.   Read to see if Kayla will finally share her secret, embrace something new, and most importantly exercise her faith.


..Continued – 

“What’s this?”

“An invitation.”

“To what?”

“Andre’s gallery opening.  It’s in three weeks.”

Kayla has told Kareem all about Andre.  As matter fact, Kareem probably knows things about Kayla and Andre’s relationship that Andre doesn’t even know.

“Are you thinking about going?” Kareem asks in a disapproving tone.

“I don’t know.”

“What will make up your mind?”

“I don’t know.”

“Do you still have feeling for him?”

Flustered she walks to the window to put some space between them.  “I don’t know.  I thought I did, then, I thought I didn’t.  A part of me believes that I always will and should.  I don’t know.  But I do know that if I go, it wouldn’t be to be his weekend guest or his date for the event.”

“Then why go at all?” Kareem replied.

“Because once upon a time, when I thought this was just a dream of his, I said I would.  Because he needs to know that while I’m happy for him, I am fine without him.”

The look in Kayla’s eyes is melancholy.   “I don’t expect you to understand or even be okay with it.  I just want to be honest with my feelings.  You asked me and I wanted to answer you honestly, because I know what holding secrets can do to a relationship and I don’t want that for us.”

“I appreciate that Kay, but I don’t want you to go.  I know that you are a grown women, and don’t need my permission to get on a plane and go anywhere, but I have to be honest with my feelings too.  I don’t want you to go.”

They stare at each other in awkward silence.  Then Kayla speaks, “You know I over think everything Kareem.  In reality, I probably won’t go, because in my head it will mean something completely different than it will in his.  You know men and women speak different languages.”

They both manage to muster up a laugh, and Kareem rubs her arm to ease his displeasure.  Kayla can tell that he’s not feeling the whole trip to New York thing, and in an effort to diffuse the situation, she excuses herself to the restroom.  Kayla might be stubborn but she’s not dumb, and no way is she willing to let her past with Andre negatively impact her potential future with Kareem. She looks in the mirror and state, “Sometimes, honesty is not the best policy.”

Returning to the living room, she hopes that the awkwardness has subsided.  “Did you miss me?” she asks.

“Absolutely,” he replies and after a deep breath he turns to face her.  “Well, I said my peace Kayla and I’m going to leave it alone.  I trust you, and I believe in us, that’s enough for now.  Besides, we need to talk about the real issue here.  Who knew that Karah was a thug?  She can over my house with a car full cousins and a bat.  I didn’t that little Karah got down like that!”

They both crack up laughing and it eases the mood.

“Today was crazy Kareem.”

“Yeah, it was.”

“Your family hates me.”

“No they don’t, they don’t even know you.  Besides, Jordan thinks your pretty, and that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?”

“Kareem, this isn’t funny, first impressions last.”

“You’re not the one who made a fool of herself today, Monique is.  My family saw how you handled her ignorance.”  He stops talking for a second and takes a long look at Kayla.  “Come here baby.”  He pulls her over to him and re-positions a piece of her bang that is always hanging in her eye.

“Kayla, I know today was crazy but in a way I’m kind of happy that it happened.”

“Kareem, why would you say that?”

“Because it helped me realize that I am completely in love with you.”

That declaration catches Kayla by surprise and it makes her blush.  She is speechless, just sitting there with a childlike grin on her face.

To be continued…

© LaRonda Moore

*** He Listens Series Homepage.

He Listens (Chapter 17)

SERIES SUMMARY:  Kayla is on a quest to move beyond the hurt of her past as she realizes the impact that hurt has on her present and potential future. This is a modern tale of love that accounts the complexities of blending the lives of two thirty-somethings and all of their respective baggage.   Read to see if Kayla will finally share her secret, embrace something new, and most importantly exercise her faith.


..Continued – 

They hug and he kisses her.  The kiss quickly turns from a peck to a passionate lip-lock.  They hold each other close and rub one another’s back.  Kareem leans back and says, “Damn, maybe you should fall out with my baby-momma more often.” They laugh and hug again.  Walking out to the porch to wait for Karah, Kareem grabs Kayla’s hand and locks his fingers in it.  “See, we fit together,” he says to her.  He then sits on the first step and motions for her to come and sit with him.  She does and in the quietness of that moment, as they sit there side by side, something happens between them.  They both feel it, but neither speak on it.

When Karah pulls up, she breaks their quiet.  it is obvious that she has misinterpreted the message.  She jumps out the car with three of their cousins and a baseball bat.

“Kareem, what you done got my sister into?”

“Karah, it’s cool.  Everything is good.”

“Good?  Them women in there ganging up on Kay ain’t good!”

“Karah, nobody was going to do anything to Kayla, trust me on that.”

“I’m just saying Kareem, they don’t know me – don’t mess with Kay – I don’t play that Kareem.  I will go in there and act a fool!  Kayla is all dignified and stuff, and she don’t mess with nobody and ain’t nobody going to mess with her!”

Having seen this scene before with Karah and her cousins, Kayla interjects, “Karah, I called you for a ride, not a scene from reality tv.  Now get back in the car and give me that damn bat.”  She turns to Kareem, kisses him, and mouths, “call me later.”

The drive home was filled with a word-by-word reenactment of the main event.  But Kayla quickly grew tired of reliving it so the later part of conversation continued on without her.  She was thinking about Kareem, and how at this moment, after what had just happened, that her feelings for him were the strongest.  Maybe it was the way he stood up for her.  Maybe it was the look in his eyes when Karah pulled off.  Or maybe, just maybe they connected as they sat on that porch.  And maybe by a simple, unexpected gesture, Kareem had managed to knock bricks off a wall that through experience was way too tall.   She was so into her thoughts, that she didn’t even notice that Karah had pulled up to her building.

“Night, night, and thanks for having my back fam, I love you’ll.”

“Call me after you talk to Kareem,” Karah replied.

“You know that I will.”

Kayla stood on the sidewalk and watched as Karah’s car turned the corner and faded out of sight.  Then, no sooner had she kicked off her heels and grabbed the week’s worth of mail from the table, Kareem calls.

“You made it home yet?”

“Yeah, I just got in.  Where are you?”

“In my car, on the way over there.”

“What?”

“I tried to stay, I tried to eat, but every time I thought about it, I got mad.  Finally, I just emptied my plate and left.”

“I’m sorry all that even took place, and on your Grandma’s birthday.”

“No, I’m sorry.  I’ll be there in a minute.”

“Okay, bye.”

As Kayla waits for Kareem to arrive she stretches out on her couch and flips through her mail.  Most of it is junk, but one envelope has a hand writing that she knows all too well.  It’s from Andre.  His gallery opening is in three weeks and he wants her to come, stay the weekend with him, and be his date to the event.  Upon reading this, Kayla looks to the ceiling and wonders to herself how Ex’s have a way of resurfacing at the most inappropriate times.

But just as she is ready to go into a world wind about this new drama that has came via snail-mail, her buzzer rings.  When Kareem makes it in, Kayla is standing in the middle of the room with the invitation in hand.

To be continued…

© LaRonda Moore

*** He Listens Series Homepage.

He Listens (Chapter 16)

SERIES SUMMARY:  Kayla is on a quest to move beyond the hurt of her past as she realizes the impact that hurt has on her present and potential future. This is a modern tale of love that accounts the complexities of blending the lives of two thirty-somethings and all of their respective baggage.   Read to see if Kayla will finally share her secret, embrace something new, and most importantly exercise her faith.


..Continued – 

With all eyes on Kayla she holds very still for a moment, bites her tongue, and extends her hand.  “Nice to meet you Monique.” The gesture stuns Monique and for a moment she doesn’t know how to respond.  So, she defaults to what she knows, and replies, “I wish I could say the same, but I try not to lie on Sundays.”  Then, before Kayla could reply, it became a free-for-all.  Natasha is yelling at Kareem, Hannah is yelling at Natasha and Kareem is screaming at Monique.  Kareem’s mother quickly escorts Jordan and his cousins out of the room and glares back at them all with contempt.  And just when all hell is about to break loose, Kareem’s grandma stepped to the middle of the room and begins to speak in a firm, even tone.

“I don’t know why yall acting like you’ve been raised in the wild.  Ya’ll know better than any of this.  We have a guest – and this is the display that you put on? Let me be very clear, in this family we show hospitality, and in this family we behave with the Christian upbringing that we received.  We are all family here. Every person present is a part of this family whether you like it or not.  Do yall think I like everyone in this room?  Well I don’t.  But you don’t see me yelling, screaming and carrying on.  I won’t listen to another word of it.  Now, go get a plate and let’s eat!”

The room was scary silent and most had their head hung.  When Grandma spoke they listened.  And on that note, the all assembled back to the kitchen.  Everyone but Kayla and Kareem that is.  They stood there for a second just looking at each other, and then his Grandma walked over to Kayla.

“Don’t you pay those silly girls no mind honey, come on and eat.  They are just angry with their life so that want to take it out on you because they can see that you aren’t angry with yours.”

Kayla smiles and Kareem kisses his grandmother on the cheek.  “Thanks Gran, give us a second, we’ll be in a few.”  He looks at Kayla, down to the floor, then up to ceiling and shakes his head.

“I am so sorry baby.  I had no idea that Monique would show up, and I don’t know where Natasha is coming from.”

“Its cool Kareem, I know you had no way of knowing this would take place.  I already texted Karah to come get me, she might need directions when she gets a little closer.”

“When did you text Karah?”

“When everyone was screaming, about me, and when I realized that I wanted to smack the taste out of your sister’s mouth and ask your baby’s momma who in the hell was she looking at all cross-eyed like she has a problem.  I am Ms. Wall Street Kareem, but that doesn’t mean I won’t whoop your ass like Ms. Mack and Bewick.   But I’m not going to go there, not here, not today, not ever.  I won’t be baited into throwing away my dignity.”

“Wait, let me say goodbye to a chosen few and I’ll take you home.”

“No Kareem, it’s your grandma’s birthday.  You stay, I’ll leave.”

“We came together, we’ll leave together.”

“Kareem, stay, it’s cool, really.  I’m fine, we’re good.”

Kareem face has changed at this point, she can see the anger.  “No really it isn’t cool, it isn’t cool at all.  You came here as my guest.  Why should you have to leave because they are being petty?

“If I stay it will mess up the whole mood of the party, I can’t stay, this is your Grandmother’s day, I have already taken away from that.”

“Okay, I guess I understand.  Are you mad at me?”

“Kareem, no, I’m not.  I told you, we’re good.  Really.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure.”

“You promise?”

“I promise.”

To be continued…

© LaRonda Moore

*** He Listens Series Homepage.

He Listens (Chapter 15)

SERIES SUMMARY:  Kayla is on a quest to move beyond the hurt of her past as she realizes the impact that hurt has on her present and potential future. This is a modern tale of love that accounts the complexities of blending the lives of two thirty-somethings and all of their respective baggage.   Read to see if Kayla will finally share her secret, embrace something new, and most importantly exercise her faith.


..Continued – 

They were the last to arrive, and as soon as they walked in Kayla is introduced to the gang.  Kareem’s mom and stepfather and his baby sister Hannah and her husband Marcel who are the hosts. Then she meets the notorious two, Aunt Helen and Barbara, and couple more aunts, uncles, and cousins whose names she can’t remember.  Kayla is greeted with warm hugs and everything is laid out so nice.  Hannah and Marcel have a beautiful home and three little ones running around it.  Next, as Kayla makes her way over to the wine and hors d oeuvres she is introduced to Kareem’s older sister Natasha, who isn’t so welcoming.  Kayla takes note of Natasha’s vibe but doesn’t pay it much attention.  And then finally, she meets the guest of honor, Kareem’s Grandmother, who reminds her of her own who pasted a few years back. She spends a long time talking with her, and answering a lot of probing questions that only a grandmother would have the nerve to ask.

Surprisingly, Kayla feels comfortable as she mingles and converses with the various members of Kareem’s family.

“When we gone eat?” uncle Jimmy shouted out.

“The last dish is just finished cooking, come on everybody,” Hannah responded.

It was a mad dash for the kitchen as everyone formed a line to make a plate.  Then unexpectedly the doorbell rings.

“Now who could that be?” Grandma asked.

“I don’t know, but I’ll get it Grans,” yells Marcel.

There was an awkward moment of silence then,

“Oh, hi Monique, are you here to pick up Jordan?”

“No Marcel, I’m not here to pick up my son, I hear for the same reason you are, to eat.”

“Well damn, you don’t have to say it like that, I didn’t even know that you were invited.”

By this time everyone has left the kitchen and is standing in the foyer.

“I invited her, if you don’t mine,” said Natasha.

“I do mind,” Kareem replied.

Now the room is scary silent with all eyes on Kareem and Natasha who are now standing face to face.

“Just because you two are no longer together doesn’t mean that we’re no longer friends.  She is the mother of my nephew and that makes her family, and this is a family affair, so I invited her.”

From the kitchen, Hannah yells, “you could have asked me first considering that it is my house.”  Hannah has nothing personally against Monique, she is just sick of their drama and want no parts of it at her house or Grandmother’s party.

Then Natasha walks to the center of the room.  “I ain’t never had to ask you before for special permission to invite Monique, your nephew’s mother to dinner, but today since we have “Ms. Wall Street” in the house I guess it’s a different story.”

“I’m not welcomed here today Hannah,”  Monique asks with serious attitude in her voice as she stares down Kayla?  “Kareem, why didn’t you tell me that you were taking my son to church with another woman?”

“What,”  Kareem questioned.  “Monique you better go on with all that dumbness, I don’t have time for it today, for real.  You live for moments like this.  You probably rehearsed your lines on the way over here.”

“Rehearse this,” Monique quickly returns.  “Don’t be taking my child around miscellaneous women that I don’t know anything about and then expect me not to come and make my presence known.  I am his mother Kareem.”

“I know you’re his mother.  We all know that you are Jordan’s mother Monique.  There is so much that I could say to you right now.  But I choose not to.  It’s not even worth it.  You’re not worth it.  Let’s just say that there is a reason why you are alone.”

At this point, you cut the tension in the room with a knife and Kayla knows that things are about to get very interesting.  She rolls her eyes and states silently, “so much for simply attending Grandma’s party.”

To be continued…

© LaRonda Moore

*** He Listens Series Homepage.