The Meeting- December 23rd
“Brian, my mom just sent me a text. Their flight just landed.” Ebony typed a response on her phone, then cursed. “I hate autocorrect. I typed ‘whoo hoo’ and it posted ‘whoop’. That’s what I get for typing too fast.”
I rested my hands on her shoulders and massaged. “Ebony, calm down, you’re tense. Everything is going to be okay.”
“You don’t understand, Brian. I haven’t seen my parents in nearly a year. And after all that’s happened…”
I reached over, pulled my fiancée into my arms, and kissed her forehead. “What’s making you nervous, having them here or them meeting me face-to-face?”
She looked up at me with her gorgeous brown eyes, her eyebrows furrowing. “Both?”
I chuckled. “I’m supposed to be the one who’s nervous.”
“And you’re not?” Ebony stared at me in disbelief.
“No, I’m not.”
‘Delta Flight 4224 has arrived and is now unloading.’
Ebony squealed with excitement at the announcement then covered her mouth.
I smiled. Seeing my fiancée this happy after the events of the past month was more than I could ever ask for. After the turmoil our relationship had gone through, it was a blessing to still be together.
And now I was about to meet her parents for the first time.
I pushed aside the thought of how long it took Ebony to tell them about us. It turned out her fear of their disappointment because I was white had been unfounded. It took them by surprise, but after what I’d done in retaliation of what happened to their daughter, her parents made it clear that race didn’t matter.
Ebony squeezed my arm. “There they are!” She ran to her mother, embracing while rocking back and forth. Beside them, her father stood, his smile wide as he took in the sight, waiting patiently for his turn.
I took my time walking toward the group, giving them a private moment to reconnect.
Ebony’s mother took a step back and held her daughter at arm’s length, appraising her as if making sure she was actually all right. I couldn’t blame her. The events of the past few months and Ebony’s decision to keep it secret were one of the reasons why they made the trip to California for Christmas. They needed to see for themselves that she was indeed okay.
“So, where is this young man?” her father bellowed, looking around the crowded area.
Ebony turned, looking for me. “There he is! Brian, come meet my parents!”
I paused only to avoid a young man dragging a large suitcase, then made my way across the tile floor. “Mr. and Mrs. Campbell, it’s nice to finally meet you in person.” I held out my hand to Ebony’s father. He took a second to look me up and down then accepted the handshake.
“I know it’s crazy to do this because you’ve talked on the phone, but I can’t help it. Baby, these are my parents, Clarence and Anita. Mom, Dad, this is my fiancé, Brian Young.”
Ebony’s parents were nothing like I imagined. Mrs. Campbell was the same height as her daughter, but a little thicker. Her eyes were sharp as she appraised me in a cautious fashion.
Her father, on the other hand, was a large man and could not be missed. His salt and pepper hair and beard gave him the look of a genteel grandfather, but the booming voice and intimidating height said otherwise.
“So, you’re the young man who’s stolen my daughter’s heart.” His eyes bore into mine, and his grip was tight. Though he smiled, the meaning was clear. ‘I may be grateful for what you’ve done for my daughter, but you hurt her and I will kill you.’ It was obvious Ebony was daddy’s little girl.
My insides turned to jelly. Message received, loud and clear.
“Yes, sir.” I smiled, keeping my fear hidden. I ignored the pain in my hand from his two-hand grip and turned to her mother. Looking at the women side-by-side was like looking into a mirror of the past and future. “Mrs. Campbell, I have no doubt Ebony will be as beautiful as you are as we grow old together.”
An unreadable expression passed over her face. “Oh, why thank you.”
Inside, I kicked myself. So much for assuming my charm and wit in person would have the same results as it did over the phone. I had to remember, regardless of our racial differences, I was still a man who could hurt their daughter. Though she wore my ring, they knew nothing about me.
Moments ago I was cool and calm, but between Mr. Campbell’s handshake and Mrs. Campbell’s appraising stare, I was thrown off my game.
Ebony seemed oblivious.
“How about we get your suitcases from the baggage claim? Brian’s mom has put together a great dinner. I hope you’re hungry.”
“Free food? Now you’re talking,” Mr. Campbell said, his attention turning back to his daughter. He walked toward the luggage claim. I followed, leaving Ebony and her mother to reconnect.
“Mr. and Mrs. Campbell, these are my parents, Laura and Winfried,” I said, after my mother let us into the house.
“Please, call me Anita, and this is Clarence,” Ebony’s mother said. She accepted my mother’s hug, while Mr. Campbell shook hands with my father.
“Please have a seat and make yourselves comfortable,” my mother said, slipping into hostess mode. If there was one thing she loved, it was entertaining. While everyone, including Ebony, moved to the living room, I brought in the luggage. Fine by me. I was trying my best to avoid sticking my foot in my mouth again. The ride from the airport to my parents’ home couldn’t have gone fast enough. While her parents were cordial, I couldn’t help but feel as if I were the chauffeur. The conversation flowed around me, full of laughter and questions as the family caught up on what was going on back in North Carolina.
“Brian, baby, are you okay?” Ebony joined me in the foyer, concern etched into those lovely features.
I cleared my throat and walked toward the front door. “Yeah, I’m good. Just getting the rest of the luggage.”
“You’re lying.” She poked my shoulder and followed me outside to the trunk of her car. “My father made you nervous, didn’t he?”
“No.” I popped the trunk and grabbed what had to be her mother’s bag. It weighed a ton.
Beside me, Ebony burst into laughter. “It’s okay to admit it. He’s a bit intimidating in person.”
Intimidating wasn’t the half of it. Mr. Campbell was not a little man. Though we stood at the same height and he had about twenty pounds on me, his booming voice is what did the trick. Though I’d talked to him for a brief period of time on the phone, it was something quite different to be face-to-face with the father of the woman I loved. For once, I could understand exactly why Ebony had been hesitant about telling them about our relationship.
I shrugged. “Maybe just a little.”
Ebony forced me to put the bag I’d pulled out of the trunk on the ground.
Her arms went around my neck. “Do you love me?”
“You know I do.” I leaned down for a kiss, taking my time to savor the connection with my fiancée. The woman I’d willingly sacrifice my life for. The woman I was ready to kill for.
“Then don’t worry about a thing. They’re staying with your parents, and from what I’ve seen, I doubt they will kill each other. It’s like you told me, everything is going to be all right.”
I let out a half-laugh. She used my words against me.
“You’re right. They’ll be here and you’ll be with me.” I kissed her again. “I can’t wait to get you home tonight.”
The sexy smile I loved appeared. “Me, neither.”
I pulled away to grab the suitcase off the ground while Ebony leaned in to grab the smaller carry-on pieces.
We entered the foyer and dropped off the bags at the base of the steps. I had no idea which room my mother wanted them in.
“Oh, there you two are!” My mom walked over, hugged and kissed Ebony. “We thought you got lost outside.”
“No, just getting the bags. Which room do you want them in?” I asked.
“You can put them in your sisters’ old room.”
“Okay.” I grabbed a bag and started up the stairs.
“Oh, by the way, we’ve all been talking, and Ebony, it seems so unfair for your parents to fly across the country for Christmas to see you, only for you to live thirty minutes away. We’ve decided it would be best if both of you stayed here for the week. We’ve got plenty of room in this house. Ebony, you can sleep in one of the spare rooms. Brian, you can have your old room.”
My eyes went wide. “What?” I looked over at Ebony whose eyes were lit up.
“Mrs. Young, are you sure?”
My mother reached over for Ebony’s hand. “How many times do I have to tell you it’s okay to call me Mom?” They both laughed. “Yes, it would be perfect. Not to mention it would save gas and time for us to all get together. Besides, Brian, it will give you a chance to know your future in-laws.” My mother pinched my cheek. “Don’t take too long; dinner will be served in fifteen minutes.” She left to join everyone else in the living room.
“Brian, this is going to be so much fun!” She grabbed the carry-on bag and started up the steps.
I stood at the bottom in shock. Why did I have a feeling this wasn’t going to be as fun as Ebony thought?
Come back tomorrow for Part Two!
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- Spend the Holiday with Ebony and Brian! (authormjkanebooks.wordpress.com)