RK- No Comic and But I Love You

The Decks and the Road
Renegotiating Kaylin

Chapter 22- No Comic

Kaylin- Her book was fascinating, devastating, and inspiring all at the same time.  I’d started reading it without her knowledge, and it added more layers to her than I could have imagined.  I knew I didn’t need permission but it felt like it would be better to keep it to myself.  I’d noticed he had come back and it turned her words into stone.  I was inspired, but I didn’t know if I was motivated to make a drastic rearrangement.  Actually, I knew I wasn’t ready, and my new dress and fresh set could easily make the point.  I was meeting Aaron at the theater.  One of his favorite comics had  broken out in film, and he’d been talking about it for weeks.  I’d started a collection of pictures of my mother with some really interesting ones Rose passed on, and I’d swept my hair up to match the way she’d worn her hair in one of the photos.  I wasn’t crazy about him like I was crazy about Eaton, but I was starting to feel extremely good about the way I looked and the hair and the dress was partly for me too.  I’d jumped from twenty-eight pounds down to forty-one.  Well, it wasn’t in one jump, but those were the numbers that leaped off the scale and stuck in my head. 

When I arrived I thought for a second that maybe I’d arrived to a festival of sorts.  It was all the fanatical energy, painted faces, and some people even showed up with copies of their comics.  Aaron had not showed up in costume however, and I could see him even under the cap he was wearing.  It wasn’t an official date night, and we were to meet some of his friends there.  Funny, all of the girls in our small group didn’t appear to know or care anything about The Green Leaper.  We were all early and stood outside for quite some time.  About twenty minutes before the showing everyone started to file in.  It was then that it happened.  It had happened before and probably would again.  I told myself just like before to just let it go, and I believe I would have three or four chapters ago but now it more than bothered me.  Now every step I took to my seat was a one I took on a needle.  We sat all in one row and I was about five chairs from the aisle.  The previews had just finished and a few people had begun hooting and hollering.  Then a few more.  Then it was silence; except for the crunching of popcorn and the wrestling of plastic.  We hadn’t exchanged but a few words in all the excitement.  We’d kissed when I’d arrived, and he’d grabbed my hand right before it had happened, but that was just about it.  I probably should have whispered something.  But the sudden and deafening silence in the room said ‘do not disturb’.   Still, I eventually would.  I’d brushed my last knee and I ran the short distance to the exit.  I made it to the car, and finally looked around.  It was all cars. 

I got up early, and opened the book on my phone.  I’d been taking it in in small pieces, and at times leaving it alone for days at a time.  Now I was ready to finish it, and I did.  The ending was good, but it wasn’t what stayed with me.  In fact it felt like she was keeping something or maybe I just wanted to know more.  Whatever it was… I felt strongly that I needed to walk it off; not just the book, but also the night before. 

I found myself shopping again.  It wasn’t an addiction or anything, but it was light and easy.  After I’d gone through a few shops and had collected quite a bit of bags, I made my way to one of the adjoining restaurants.  I’d already ordered when a fairly young man sat across from me.  I could tell he was only a few years older than me, but he spoke and looked more lived than me. 

“Kaylin Johnson?”  I could tell he didn’t come to hurt me, but I was startled nonetheless.  He was dressed somewhat like the bodyguard who had gotten between me and Radiance at The Rose.  His eyes were beady and sat into his face.  His brows seemed to hang over his eyes.  He kept his hands lying on the table with one covering the other.

“Do I know you?”
“It’s not important that you know me.  I have an offer for you however.  It’s for the song.”  He slid the hand from the bottom toward me but kept it close to the table.

“Who’s making the offer?”
“That’s also not important.  All you have to do is walk into the bank written on this note, give them your I.D. and request a bank card.  You have five days to decide.  Add any additional steps and it becomes an illusion.”  He left just as he’d come, and it was just me and the note he’d passed to me.  There was an account number, the name of a bank I hadn’t heard of, and the amount $350,000 written in green ink.  I looked around but no one was watching.  I then stood up to see if I could spot him, but it was just the usual shoppers walking by.  The visit left me with standing hairs.  The thought that someone’s tuned into your every move was not one the sum on the paper could cover.  I also wasn’t sure it was enough to cover a hit like ‘Coming Together’ had become for a lifetime, but for the first time I’d been forced to think in terms of dollars and not just recognition.  I had never walked out on a meal, but the whole thing had shaken me out of my seat.  I tried to think of where I might go.  I thought of the police department, but that would be an added step.  Before I moved into drive, I quickly tried to determine if the offer turning to an illusion was the only consequence for me and the people I loved.  When I was filled to the lid with questions and worry, I took a big gulp and swallowed it all.  I slept three days out of the five, and on the fourth day I flushed the note down the toilet.  By then I’d already cried and prayed over my whole life at least ten times.  After the note had vanished I felt drawn to sit by the River and made my way to Lynchwire Drive.  On the way, the second song hit my ear waves and something said it would be bigger than the first.   

Chapter 23- But I Love You

Radiance- I’d started chewing at the acrylics on my nails; not incessantly but often enough to notice.  Almost three weeks had passed since Natalie had promised to notify the label.  I’d been busy, but I knew when it was sent and I kept questioning whether I should have just walked in and reported it myself.  I thought the letter might look aggressive, but I tried to see things the way Natalie had showed them to me.  All of this in the face of heartbreak.  He had eventually risen from the dead.  I didn’t see him but he had left me a note on my windshield over a week ago.  “Sorry I can’t see you.  I have some things I need to work out, but I love you.” 

Natalie was the only person I knew I could share any of this with, but she was really becoming a lawyer, and her advice was getting increasingly difficult.  She’d suggested I completely break the lines of communication with him, but I couldn’t help but think what if it blows over.  Anyway, she thinks that I should give up our apartment and move somewhere else.  I don’t think it’s necessary.  I know Eaton and he’ll find a way.  Besides, I still have faith in the truth.  Little did I know that faith would be tried as urgently as it was.

I heard the knock from my room in the back of the unit.  I wasn’t expecting a knock and it did surprise me.  I looked out the peephole and where I would usually open the door right away, I stopped and thought about it, but still opened it rather quickly.  It was Reece.

“Hey.”  I opened the door to the night air.
“Can we talk?”  She asked as I backed up and she stepped in.  I thought about Eaton and hoped he was okay.

“I got the letter from your attorneys.”
“I just thought that the label should know.  Have you spoken to the producer?”
“I have.”
“Everything’s pointing to Eaton.  And... everyone thinks of you two as a unit so the question is, ‘Did you know’?” 
“No.  I didn’t even know he had that kind of relationship with the label.”
“What do you mean… that kind of relationship?”  At the question she folded her arms, and I tried to hear what she’d heard.
“I thought he was just scouting talent.”
“He could have passed himself off as more.” 
“So who would be responsible?”
“No one’s responsible if he lied.” 
“What happens if she sues?”
“Is he still hiding?”
“I never said anything about him hiding.  He’s away on business.”
“Look, you’re beautiful… you’re young and you’re talented.  Your album is doing better than we could have imagined, and the label would love to continue on this path, but you have more to lose than we do in this matter.”  I heard her words; all of them and I remembered their fractured bond.
“What about the fact that he’s your brother?  Aren’t we equally in the same position?”
“Equal.  Radiance, I assure you that we aren’t equal and you should pray this thing doesn’t blow up.”  After we’d danced around the same spot long enough and she’d delivered her warning, she headed toward the door.  It was no use wondering.  She’d painted a pretty clear picture and I knew that if it was between me and her, the label would stand with her. 

After she left, I checked my heart to see where my faith in the truth had ended up.  I thought about what I saw as equality between her and I, and I remembered that blood was thicker than water.  It gave me enough hope to catch my breath, and I quickly decided to take Natalie’s advice.    

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.