RK- "Sparks in Cuba" and "The Gamble"
The Decks and the Road
Chapter 25- A Spark in Cuba
Kaylin- The bouquet throwing… I’d seen it in movies and I would have thought I would die for the opportunity, but it was the last thing I wanted so I stood aside while all the women gathered. When it landed in Johnaya’s hands her eyes sprinted to find me. I raised a cheer and wondered what it would mean. By eleven most of the guest had begun to fade and I’d already gotten a message from Chad-Ezra to join him. We made our way off the ship and he continued to lead the way. He stopped to introduce me to several of his family members until our coast appeared to be clear and we were off to the botanicals. There were lots of groups of people and a few sets of two scattered in between. He moved like he’d been there before, but he swore he hadn’t. When we’d come to a quiet spot he jumped out and asked me, “What did you think of me back in school?”
“You just didn’t appeal to me. You were kind of corny and I thought your name was too long.”
“What’s corny about sharing your feelings?”
“Nothing now of course… but then. I don’t know.”
“And what do you think of my name now?”
“I like Che better. Do you mind if I call you Che?”
“You can for now.”
“Then I’ll make you like Chad-Ezra. The more you know the more you’ll like it.” At his response I looked away and headed toward a short bridge we’d pass. Looking back it was that answer that had kept my attention through the rest of the trip. I’d slipped out of Kayla’s Latin Fiesta and met him again that night, and we’d caught two productions onboard the next day. We’d become almost inseparable, and on the last day I even found myself in one of his reunion t-shirts. I’d met his mother and father and he simply referred to me as a classmate. It was just enough to keep all the questions away, and I wasn’t offended by it. Besides there wasn’t anyone apparently who could get him to tear his eyes away from me and it flattered me. Finally when we eventually ran into Kayla and Wood, she nudged me while he was speaking with Wood and I nudged her back.
He was everything I needed to keep my mind off of the things that were pressing me. Strangely, he also felt like a bit of a reward for finally getting things right with Aaron. In the weeks that followed we continued what had started in Cuba, and we tried not to think about him returning to school. We would eventually have dinner at his parent’s home, at Tayeton and Kat’s, with Kayla and Wood, and I’d taken him to meet Rose. By the time the summer ended we were “Che and Kaylin” except with his parents. With them we were Chad-Ezra and Kaylin. I hadn’t said anything to him about the songs or what was going on behind the scenes in our moments together, but I had shared with him two of my newest songs and ironically he had thought of the song ‘Coming Together’. I had presumed he would have thought of us, but I was glad about what came to mind. By the end of the summer I had also landed at a hundred and fifty pounds, and I’d loss the last ten pounds with nearly both of my eyes closed. I’d kept my copy of Renegotiating Kayla sitting in my top drawer since finishing it, and it somehow felt as though it was guiding me.
My father died in mid-July. It was enough to set me back, but it just rolled off my back. Still I didn’t know if it would catch up with me, and if so, when and how.
Chapter 26- The Gamble
Kayla- I’d been quietly researching the details of Kaylin’s claims. I hadn’t shared any of it with anyone. Throughout it all I remembered her look of desperation and her appeal for justice. I kept telling myself that there were more qualified people for the job until I caught a picture of my next future. Next future was the best term to sum up the turns and leaps my life had taken and was still prepared to take. That picture was tucked away in my heart, and all its details I kept in the bottom draw of my desk at work. Although, I called out to it when I boldly walked into Content Marketing. It was another business I had not heard of that was sitting right under the nose of the city. I’d learned enough to know better than approaching the label. Label in my job usually meant “the name upfront” and most times was intentionally there to create a dead end. Ample Publishing owned Ample Records and Ample Records was a series of small partnerships. Content Marketing was responsible for the music publishing, and was ironically a recording studio. I didn’t bother to set an appointment. I’d be giving away too much information up front. When I walked in it was a clear operation and no fronts, but if it weren’t for the press release I found online, I may have never gotten to the right entity. Well not quick enough to prevent an interception. Of course I didn’t present my reason for being there right up front. Instead I led with my recognition from the big score, and it wasn’t long before I was sitting across from the head guy. It was easy to register his surprise when I introduced myself as a Negotiator and unpacked Kaylin’s claims as the author of ‘Coming Together’. It was a delicate negotiation. I’d designed my map of all the possible directions the negotiations may go in, and I had my detours, objections, and acceptances already accounted for. Along with my next future, I had surely captured a future for Kaylin, and I knew she could benefit from more than just a check. My plan was to make Content Marketing nervous, and end my negotiations with Ample Publishing, but if it didn’t go as planned, I was prepared to negotiate with Content Marketing. I barely bothered Kaylin with all these logistics. I had enough of the backdrop which she quickly fed me over breakfast weeks before. I only assured her that I hadn’t forgotten and that I was making progress in my research. I left Content Marketing with nothing but a promise of a phone call later that afternoon. It was a gamble. I tried to grasp whether I’d done a good job of playing the middle of the road; a friend and a possible enemy. When I’d received Jim’s call shortly after noon, I knew he’d caught all the small threats I’d laid before him while still building a working relationship. His call was to bring me up to speed on who had presented the song to his team, and to sublimely convey that he would rather I go after Ample. It wasn’t a double cross. It wasn’t a cross at all. The producers had easily pointed to Eaton, and one of them had gone so far as to reveal that he was the brother of the Ample Records Exec. I had what I needed to make my approach, and Eaton’s fatal error had been showing up to Kaylin’s party.
Renegotiating Kaylin, a novel
Copyright 2019 by Natisha Renee Williams and Grace Call Communications, LLC
All Rights Reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.