“Is there something you’re not telling me?”
“What? No, I’m fine,” Kalisha answered a little too quickly.
“That’s not what I asked,” her mother said, narrowing her eyes.
Kalisha groaned. “I just know how you can be sometimes, and I really don’t want—”
“Oh hush, child,” her mother interrupted. “We won’t be too hard on Robby when he gets here.”
“That’s the thing—”
But then the doorbell rang, and her mother’s eyes lit up. “Oh good, he’s here.” And with that, she turned sharply and walked away from her exasperated daughter.
“Mom,” Kalisha hissed.
“George,” she called to Kalisha’s father. “Get downstairs. Kalisha’s boyfriend is here.”
“Mom, before you open that door—”
Too late. She swung the door open with a flourish to stifle her daughter’s protestations. Standing on the porch was a slender, bright-eyed young woman with messy purple hair. “Good afternoon Mrs. Johnson,” the stranger said.
“Oh. Hello. Are you . . .”
“Robbi,” she answered. “Yeah.”
Kalisha held her breath.
“Of course you are,” her mother said, face broadening into a smile. “Come in, come in.”
Robbi strolled in casually and planted a kiss on Kalisha’s cheek.
Still smiling, her mother called out, “George! You owe me twenty bucks!”
* * *
Story by Gregory M. Fox