Solid Soul(4)

By: Brenda Jackson

As he began backing out of the parking lot, he contemplated the emergence of Tiffany Hagan in Marcus’s life. He didn’t think his son’s interest in the girl was going to fade away anytime soon, regardless of what kind of talk Kylie Hagan had with her daughter. That meant Chance needed to have a “Plan B” ready. Under no circumstances would he let Marcus succumb to teen lust and ruin the life he and Cyndi always wanted for him.

His thoughts shifted to Tiffany’s mother again, and he felt lust invading his own body. The difference was he was a man and he could handle it.

At least he hoped he could.

After reading the note, Helena Spears glanced up at the woman who’d been her best friend since high school. “Are you sure Tiffy wrote this, Kylie?”

The two of them had met for lunch and were sitting at a table in the back of the restaurant. Kylie shook her head. Leave it to Lena to try to wiggle her goddaughter out of any kind of trouble. “Of course I’m sure. I can recognize Tiffany’s handwriting when I see it and so can you. Those curls at the end of certain letters give her away and you know it.”

Lena shrugged as she handed the note back to Kylie. “Well, the only thing I have to say in defense of my godchild is that if Marcus looks anything like his daddy, then I can see why Tiffy fell for him.”

Kylie didn’t want to admit that she’d thought the same thing. “You know Chance Steele?”

“Oh, yeah. There are few people living in Charlotte who don’t know the Steele brothers. They own a huge manufacturing company, the Steele Corporation. There are four of them who were born and raised here. They’re not transplants like rest of us, and they are very successful, as well as handsome. Chance is the CEO and his brothers have key positions in the corporation. There are also three female cousins, one of which works in the PR Department. The other two chose careers outside of the company, but all three are members of the board of direc-tors.”

Lena took a sip of her drink before continuing. “Chance is the oldest and the one I see most often with my charity work. He’s a big supporter of the American Cancer Society. His wife died of cancer around seven years ago.”

Kylie, who had been putting the note back in her purse, suddenly lifted her head. “He’s a widower?”

“Yes, and from what I understand, he’s doing a good job raising his son.”

Kylie frowned. “Not if his son is enticing girls to cut school with him.”

Lena laughed. “Oh, come on, Kylie. You were young once.”

“I remember. And that’s what I’m afraid of,” she said, meeting Lena’s gaze with a concerned expression. “You recall how I was all into Sam. I thought I was madly in love. It was like my day wasn’t complete until I saw his face. I was obsessed.”

Lena shook her head. “Yeah, you did have it bad. You thought you were in love, and nobody could tell you differently.”

“And you saw what happened to me. One day of acting irresponsibly changed my entire life. I was pregnant on my sixteenth birthday.”

And rejected at sixteen as well.

She would never forget the day Sam told her that he wanted no part of her or the baby, and that he would get his parents to give her money for an abortion, but that was about all she would ever get from him. He intended to go to college on a football scholarship and under no circumstances would he let her mess up his future with a baby he didn’t want. He agreed with his parents that there was no sense in him throwing away a promising career in pro football because of one foolish mistake. So instead of hanging around and doing the right thing, he had split the first chance he got. Even now she could count on one hand the number of times Tiffany had seen her father. Sam did get the football career in the NFL that he’d wanted, at least for a short while before an injury ended things. Now he was living in California, married with a family, and rarely had time for his daughter.

Emotions tightened her throat as she remembered that time she had gotten pregnant. She had hurt her parents something awful. And disappointed them as well. They had had so many high hopes for her, their only child, including her attending college at their alma mater, Southern University.

She had eventually gotten a college degree but that was only after years of struggling as a single parent and trying to make a life for her and Tiffany. And now to think that her daughter could possibly be traveling down the same path was unacceptable.

“Yes, I did see what happened to you, but look how much you’ve accomplished since then, Kylie,” Lena said. “The only thing you didn’t do was allow another man into your life because of Sam’s rejection, and I think you were wrong for turning away what I knew were some good men. You never gave yourself the chance for happiness with someone else after Sam. I tried to tell you how arrogant and selfish he was but you wouldn’t listen.”

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