The shopping spree went smoothly. Kacy even found a few baby things, and started a secret collection. She felt silly, but so excited she couldn’t stand it. Until it happened, she hadn’t realized how much she wanted a baby.
Dino and Deacon went to a movie, one they both had been wanting to see. Neither of them could remember the plot afterwards, but at least they had gotten out of the house for a while. They stopped for a burger on the way to the condo, carrying an extra combo meal for Kacy. She wasn’t at the condo when they got in, but walked in a few minutes later, carrying dozens of bags and packages. Dino helped her get the rest in from the car and started to put things away.
“I got all kinds of things I knew Nancy hadn’t stocked,” she said as she unloaded toilet paper and dish soap. “So many things one needs when moving in! Dino, did you find towels and soap in the spare bathroom?”
He nodded hurriedly, rushing to complete her next chore, rather like a puppy wishing to please. He was really comical, but Deacon bit his laughter back, knowing he would offend the large, kindhearted man.
“I ordered Chinese for dinner,” Dino said happily. “Cindy will pick it up and come by with it.”
“You don’t suppose he’ll follow her, do you?” Kacy looked worried.
“I hadn’t thought of that. Maybe I should meet her somewhere instead?” He looked terribly worried.
“Tell her to buzz by Reyes’ house, then leave by the back door. You can be waiting in the alley and carry her over here!” Kacy grinned happily.
“You’re getting way too into this subterfuge thing, babe,” Deacon told her. “But she’s right, Dino. She doesn’t need to come straight here.”
“Karmina!” Kacy yelped, setting the dishwasher soap down with a thud. “Of course, why didn’t I think about this? She’s perfect!”
“Who?” Dino was so confused, he could hardly speak.
“She’s someone we met at the hospital,” Deacon explained. “This would be right up her alley. Call Cindy and tell her to contact Karmina for us. I know she’d help out. The intrigue will be too much for her to pass up.”
Deacon was right. Karmina was thrilled to be involved. She met Cindy at the hospital and the two of them left by the service entrance, snuck to Karmina’s Honda Civic, and drove by a very circuitous route to the local Chinese restaurant. When they got to the condo, they parked around back and came up the service elevator.
“Girl, what have you been feeding this young man?” She took one look at Deacon and sat heavily on a chair across from him. “He’s about to dry up and blow away!” She shook her finger under Deacon’s nose, then thumped him stoutly on the chest. “I been readin’ about you in the paper, young’un! You goin’ to kill yourself for sure! Miss Kacy, you gonna have to tie him up, and rope him to the bed, if you want him in one piece! He done broke one leg, he’s trying to break the other one too!”
“Not a bad idea, Karmina. I’ve always wanted a love slave.” Kacy winked at the older black woman, who hooted happily.
“Girl, I heard that! But you got to fatten him up some, he’s too damn skinny! When my man grabs me I know I been grabbed, cause he’s got some meat on him!”
Deacon pretended to look offended. “Karmina, I’ve got meat where it counts.” He made a crude gesture.
Karmina raised an unfriendly eyebrow. “I know you didn’t just say that to me! I oughta slap you nekkid, skinny boy! Pretty soon we gonna catch you eyeing yourself in a mirror, prancing around in your altogethers. You got to watch this one, Miss Kacy. He’s a holy terror!”
Deacon was laughing so hard, he could hardly eat. Karmina took great pleasure in poking fun at him through the entire meal.
“He reminds me of one of those peacocks you see at the zoo. He all fancy like, got that pretty tail, attracting a lady’s attention. And when you get right up to him, he’s just a big, blue chicken!”
Dino snorted, trying not to spray rice all over the living room.
“You ain’t much better, Mr. I’m So Rich and Handsome! At least you got some meat on you. But you like those body builder types, they be all over muscles.” She shivered delightedly.
Dino, who was proud of his physique, looked forlorn.
“Now he’s pouting like a puppy. You acting like a big ol’ baby! You know,” she turned serious for a moment. “I been reading in the paper about one of those big gyms. They’re looking for a place to expand, thinking about coming to town, maybe build over on the beach. They ain’t no property big enough in a central location, they don’t want to be too far away from the tourists.”
This pronouncement caught Deacon’s attention. “Do you remember what gym it was, Karmina?”
Pursing her lips, gazing at the ceiling, she thought a few moments. “I’m gonna get it wrong, I know. I think it was a color…. Green’s. That was it, I knew I’d remember! Green’s Gym from over to Orlando. Wants to start up a branch here, since we’re growing so fast. Gonna gouge a few bucks from flabby tourists, is my guess!”
“Interesting development, isn’t it?” Deacon looked meaningfully at Kacy.
She nodded silently, staring at him utterly horrified. “Orlando?” Kacy tried to control her interest. “Do you happen to know the name of the developer who’s handling the deal?”
©2021 Dellani Oakes