Copyright 2014 Camille Leone

This story is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places and incidents are invented by the
author or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any similarity to actual
persons or events is purely coincidental.

All rights are reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in form or by any means
without the prior written consent of the author.



Numbers . . .


“I‟m the only child of two former stockbrokers, so you can imagine what it was like when
we all got together.”
I couldn‟t get a read on Renisha‟s expression, but I wanted to keep our conversation going.
“Tell me about them.”
She took a deep breath, like this was gonna be painful. “When I was little I used to think
what they were saying was some kind of secret language. It‟s like when adults want to say a bad
word but they spell it out, thinking you‟ve never heard them use it before.” She put her elbow on
the back of the couch, propping up her chin on a forearm, and I was lost in those big, black eyes
of hers. I started to move in for a kiss but I pulled back when she kept talking. “I wanted to be a
part of their world so badly that I starting studying the stock market back in middle school. And I
thought I‟d finally be contributing something,” she said. “I think I just made it worse, because
when I go home to visit all we do is talk about the market. Sometimes I wish my mother would
ask if I‟m pregnant, but she thinks she‟s this in the know, uber cool mom. She‟ll say stuff like,
„when are you bringing your girlfriend back, the one you‟re so fond of?‟” Renisha bowed her
head and her voice dropped. “I think she wants me to be a lesbian just so she can pretend to be
liberal and accepting. And my dad just sits there because he‟s still focused on his forced
retirement. Sometimes you can have two parents but not have parents, you get my meaning?”
Not really, but I went ahead and told her I did. After that we were both quiet, so I guess it
was my turn to share. Instead I joked about giving her part of my family. “My uncle Carmine
used to chase me home from school, One time he saw some blacks kids after me, and he rooted
for them to kick my ass.”
She pushed my shoulder, laughing cos she thought I was kidding.
“Do sum-tin wit cha life.” I told her, cos that‟s how my Uncle Sal always started
conversations off when he wanted to impart real world advice. I thought this was a bonding
moment between me and him, especially when he asked me what I wanted to do once I
graduated from high school. I told him that I liked numbers and I remember his big, doughy face
was real confused, then he got happy. “Numbers?”
“Yeah,” I‟d said. “I like math and science. I mean, I probably won‟t be an astronaut or
nothing, but my teacher says I could make some decent money after college. She says I‟ve got a
good head for figures, cos I can figure out things quick and I like working with „em.”
“Oh yeah? Do you think maybe you could come up with the winning Lotto numbers before
tonight‟s drawing?”
“I‟m talking about mainly doing math equations and computer codes, stuff like that.”
Sal nodded, then frowned as if he was deep in thought. I don‟t think he understood why the
kid Uncle Carmine always said was the mook of the family wanted to work with codes, but it
was okay, because he added, “Just make us proud.”
When I finished my own little trip down memory lane Renisha just smiled and said, “Iann,
you‟re so different than I thought you‟d be.”
“I don‟t know if that‟s a good thing or bad thing.”
“It‟s good. It‟s very good.”
I was so happy I starting clowning around. I gave her my best muscle man pose, you know,
the one where the guys are on stage grimacing and grinning at the same time they‟re popping
veins and contorting enough to make everybody in the audience queasy. “Excuse my French” as
my Uncle Mario likes to say, but those are some big, greasy looking motherfuckers. And I
wouldn’t call the color of their skin a tan. It’s more like somebody’s been flipping them over on a
grill until they’re extra well done.
I musta been selling it, „cause she gave me an “ugh” and said, “I hope that‟s not your sex
face. I don‟t wanna see you looking like that when I‟m on top of you.”
When I’m on top of you. That‟s all I heard. Well, that and the fact she alluded to us doin‟ it.
So I immediately ceased with the funny shit and gave her THE STARE. It‟s this thing I do with
females on accounta I‟ve been told that my light blue eyes are sexy. My special stare is kinda
intense and soft at the same time. So I stared hard at her, and she looked back at me without
blinking. I figured we had a deep connection going. Only when she couldn‟t hold it in any longer
the girl laughed right in my face!
But then she fisted my tee shirt and pulled me to her. Our bodies sunk lower on the couch as
we slid horizontally along the seat cushions. “Are you as really good as you think you are,
Mister?”
My right brow went up, cos in truth I was highly insulted that she would ask such a thing.
“There‟s only way to find out.”
For the first time I could see uncertainty in her eyes. She was picking out spots on my face
as if she was trying to remember everything about me, and I had a bad feeling that she wanted to
do a James Brown move, you know, a “Can we hit it and quit?” But her expression was so
sweet that I swear I was melting inside. So I tilted my head and took possession of her mouth . . .


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