After pulling into the parking lot of the restaurant, Cheveyo exited the van. Stretching slowly, he tried to work the kinks out of his lower back. The drive between the lodge and Mesa normally took about an hour but after his late start, he felt like he’d been on the road for twice that. Luckily he’d planned on arriving early, so his delay hadn’t made him late. This meeting was too important to be late.
Rolling his shoulders a final time, he headed towards the main entrance. As he walked, he thought about the trip from the lodge to his aunt’s home. The tension between his brothers had slowly subsided, but still hadn’t completely dissipated when they had arrived at Aunt Pati’s. After a rushed explanation and handing off two very subdued boys, he’d climbed back into the van to complete the trip. God please let them behave for Aunt Pati. This meeting is important. We need the money to expand and I don’t need to get a call from home.
After greeting the Maitre d’, he was led through the dining room. When the man stopped then gestured for him to sit, he nearly swallowed his tongue. With a name like Avon Lewis, he’d expected an older dowdy woman. Instead what he found was an attractive brunette, wearing her dark hair up in a French twist and a light colored business suit.
“Are you Mr. Johnson?” Her honey-molasses voice made him think of rumpled bed sheets and darkened bedrooms. He licked his lower lip as an unexpected vision overtook him. His sight darkened and then took a sepia tone that accompanied his visions. He could see the woman nestled in his mother’s rocking chair, holding Sequoia, soothing the boy. Then he saw himself walk into the room holding a baby wrapped in a light colored blanket.
“Here you go, Momma.” Disbelief rocked him when she reached up and took the bundle from him. Whose child was it and why was the woman in his home?
“Thank you, Daddy.” She turned to the boy cuddled on her lap. “Look, Sequoia. See, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Little Orienda and I are fine. I know it sounded bad but we’re not going to be taken from you. We love you and your brothers too much to leave.” She looked up at him, exposing the colorful beaded chocker around her slender neck. His blood roared in his ears. He had claimed her. “Isn’t that right, my love?”
“Mr. Johnson! Come on, wake up! Don’t do this to me!” The urgency in the person’s voice shook him free of the vision.
His eyes blurrily focused on the woman who was kneeling on the floor next to the table.
©Dakota Trace All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.