Excerpt of Kisses Don’t Lie By Tamika Newhouse coming March 19th

In the beginning . . .

Kyla

            It was a little after one in the afternoon, and I swear I was more nervous than I had ever been. I twirled around in my graduation gown and did a double look. Here I stood, all of eighteen and about to graduate from high school. You know how you always say I can’t wait to be grown? Well, here I was saying I wish this wasn’t over. But it was over. I was going to cross that stage and become an adult. This was it.

I looked over my room that I have had since I was ten years old and noticed pictures from homecoming and prom to the senior ski trip toColorado. I smiled knowing that all that was just memories now.

Reaching down on my bed I grabbed my cap and gripped it in my hand. Taking one last glance into the mirror, I said, “Time to become an adult, Kyla.” I blew out hot air and turned to make my way downstairs.

Before I could even make it down the first step I heard the sounds of Jagged Edge coming from my sister’s room. I walked up to her door and leaned against it as I cleared my throat so she could hear me. “Brittany, I’m about to leave.”

She looked up and smiled. Tossing her iPod to the side she stood up and ran up to me, slamming her body against mine.

“Dang, little sis, I’m only going downtown to graduate.”

She lay her head on my shoulder and gave me a tight squeeze. “Look at you trying to look all grown. And don’t worry. Mama and I will be there right on time and in the front row. You know I must look cute for the up-and-coming seniors,” she laughed. I shook my head and laughed with my sister, who was now going into her sophomore year.

“Look here, little girl, I may not be here physically after I graduate, but I will know if you messing with some knucklehead.” I pushed her on her shoulder and laughed.

Plopping back down on her bed she said, “Yeah, yeah, you and Sean say the same thing. And look at him. Sean barely even comes back home now.” I recalled the lines my older brother used to tell me before he graduated and left. But the military kept him away. I had plans to return, though.

“Well, I am not Sean. I got to go, little sis. See you in a couple hours. Cool?”

She nodded her head as I walked out her door.

It was only a matter of seconds when I started to smell the enchiladas Mama was cooking. I went down the stairs two at a time as the smell began to make my stomach speak in tongues. Walking in, the coast was clear andLorraine, my mama, was nowhere in sight. I zoomed on two dishes that were obviously full of my mother’s famous corn tortilla enchiladas.

I quietly opened up one of the kitchen drawers and retrieved a fork. I was already drooling just at the sight of it. I couldn’t wait to return home after graduation for the dinner she had planned. Just as I had lifted the foil to dip my fork in, I heard, “Back away, Miss Thang.”

I jumped at the sound of Mama’s voice and turned to face her. Instantly I put on the I’m innocent face. “Oh, come on, Mama, just one bite?”

She took the fork out of my hand, reached up into the cabinet, and got a saucer placing one enchilada on it. I beamed with excitement. As I took it into my hands I sliced a piece with my fork and dropped a bite in my mouth. The flavors of the sweet and salty spices danced around my taste buds. I closed my eyes and said, “Mmm, Mama, this is sooo good.”

“I’m so proud of you. Look at my baby.” Mama was now walking around me in circles brushing my gown for any wrinkles or lent. I let her have her moment; I know I surely was. We shared many moments like this in the kitchen. Eating and chatting it up.

I felt more obligated to spend more time with her since my older brother Sean left for the military over three years ago. He hasn’t been home to visit yet. He was now in D.C. living it up, while I tried to fill the void in my mama’s heart from a disappearing son and a dead husband.

“Well, Mama, I can hear the horn of Dean’s car outside. I already said by toBrittany. I’ll see you and the rest of the family in a bit, OK?” I took the last bite of my enchilada and bent down to hug my mama who was all of five foot three.

“OK, baby. I’ll see you in a couple hours.” I blew her a kiss as I walked out the front door and made my way to Dean’s Monte Carlo.

Dean was my high school sweetheart. He’s the perfect guy in the whole world, if you ask me. We had been together for two years now, but friends since sixth grade. He was, without a doubt, the love of my life. I climbed in and dropped my cap in my lap. Then I turned in my seat and looked up at him. “Hey, handsome.”

He smiled back. To my dark-like-the-night skin to his hazel-honey complexion, you would think we would be a complete opposite match based on that and many other differences. But, as they say, he was yin to my yang.

“Look at you, babe. You look beautiful.” He leaned in and gave me a soft kiss on my full lips. I welcomed it. Anytime Dean kissed me it almost felt like the very first time.

Pulling out of the driveway of my childhood home it started to hit me. I would return to this house as an adult. I was graduating high school, Dean and I both.

“I see it all over your face, babe. What’s wrong?” Dean pulled me out of my thoughts as soon as I heard his voice.

“I knew this was coming, and we talked about it for months now. But it just hit me that things are about to change forever.”

Dean’s somber look allowed me to know that he knew exactly what I was talking about. We had applied to many schools, and I was lucky enough to get accepted into Howard where I would go and be reunited with my brother Sean. But Dean was accepted intoGramblingStatedown inLouisiana.

And although we knew that we were the one for each other, we knew that being a world apart would tear us apart. So we agreed to disagree on the nature of our future, and I decided that we would break up after graduation.

I didn’t want to hold us back from enjoying life while trying to carry on a long-distance relationship for four years. Instead, I wanted to leave him with all the love in my heart. I didn’t want that to fade.

“I see you are over there thinking about it, Kyla. I know what we agreed on, and it does make sense. But you know what I want. I want us together.”

I didn’t want him to see me emotional so I turned my head toward the window. He drove by so many memories in my old neighborhood that I opted to close my eyes instead.

“I love you, Dean,” I whispered. I felt the car slow down, and then completely stop. I opened my eyes, and we were pulled over on the side of the road. I turned to look at Dean who was staring deep into my eyes. He was emotional too, but he could actually hold his tears in. I couldn’t.

“I know I promised to go along with us breaking up, Kyla, and I don’t like it, but I understand. But now since I promised you something, you must promise me something.”

I turned to face him completely as the mystery of what he wanted to say grew. “Yes, what is it?”

“After we have both graduated and we are both single, we will be together. I know you are it for me, Kyla, and I understand why you want to break us up. But since I promised you that, promise me this.”

I leaned closer to him, never losing eye contact, and said, “Dean, I’m yours.” I gripped the charm necklace that was placed around my neck that he had given me last summer.

He matched my distance and placed his lips on mine once again. And with that kiss, we sealed our deal.

 

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Comments

  1. Omg I was yearning for more. I cannot wait to this book comes to stores. You do awesome work… Keep it up.

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