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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Maurice and Kenya: The Beginning Part One

Maurice Goings and Kenya Taylor have loved each other since they shared a childhood kiss. As their senior prom rolls around, Maurice, star of their high school football team, tells Kenya his true feelings.

PART ONE:

Gold seemed to be the color for prom that year. All of the dresses that showed up in the store windows were golden. Form fitting and not at all what Kenya Taylor wanted for her senior prom. Kenya wanted to feel like a princess, even if she wasn't going to prom with prince charming. As she walked into the Buckhead boutique, she thought about the invitation that she'd gotten to the prom from her classmate, Shaun Hawkins. He was a nice enough guy, but they were just friends. And though she'd been fighting her feelings since she was eight years old, the one guy she wanted to go to prom with was Maurice Goings.
Unfortunately, Maurice wanted nothing more from Kenya than friendship. They'd grown up together, played hide and seek in her grandmother's yard along with his brother James. Kenya and Maurice had even kissed once. So what if they were only nine, it was special to her.
The older they got and the more Maurice focused on football, the less time he had for his friend. That's not to say that he didn't have time for other girls. Since he was the star of the Fredrick Douglass High School football team, he had to beat girls off with a stiff arm and a stick. And whom did him talk to about all of the girls at Douglass High who wanted to get with him? Kenya.
She was tired of being Maurice's friend, especially when the kind of girl he was looking for—someone smart, pretty, outgoing and goal oriented—was just who she was. Turning her head to the left, Kenya saw the exact dress that she wanted. A light pink gown, which reminded her of a princess. The bodice was trimmed in lace, it was cinched at the waist and the skirt flowed like a silky ocean. She grabbed the gown and headed for the sales clerk.
"Excuse me," Kenya said. "I need to try this one."
The clerk looked at Kenya and smiled. "This dress is so classy and not gold! Let me open a dressing room for you." The clerk walked over to the dressing room and fumbled with her keys until she found the right one to open the door. Once inside, Kenya held the dress against her body and smiled at how the color complemented her complexion. She stripped off her jeans and Clark Atlanta University tee-shirt and slipped into the dress. It was a perfect fit. Kenya was glad that she'd started riding her bike again. She was sure that she'd dropped a few pounds since the winter and this dress must have been the reason why. Twirling around, Kenya knew she had picked the right prom dress. Too bad she didn't have the right date.

"I don't give a damn about prom," Maurice Goings blurted out to no one in particular as he walked into his house.
"Boy," his mother, Maryann Goings, exclaimed. "You better watch your mouth."
Maurice dropped his head as he plopped down on the sofa. "Ma, I didn't know you were here."
"Obviously. What's wrong with you?"
"All this prom mess. The girl I wanted to go to the prom with already has a date. All these other girls are getting on my nerves wanting to be my date. I'm not going."
Maryann shook her head as she crossed over to the sofa where Maurice was sitting. "Why not go alone? I'm sure all of your friends are going to be there and wonder why you're sitting at home with a long face. Who did you want to take with you?"
"It doesn't matter," he said then expelled a sigh. "She could've told me she had a boyfriend, though."
"Was Kenya supposed to wait for you? She's a beautiful girl and whoever she's going to prom with obviously didn't ignore that."
Maurice eyed his mother incredulously. "How did you know?"
She patted her son's shoulder. "I have eyes. I see how you look at Kenya. How you've been outside every day since she started riding her bike around the neighborhood and how you have so many questions about calculus that you have to get her help with. You're not that bad in math."
"Well, if you know, why doesn't she?"
"Have you told her?"
"I didn't tell you either," Maurice said.
"But I'm a mother and she's not. When you like someone, Mo, you have to tell them or you end up damning the prom. I seriously doubt that Kenya has a boyfriend, though."
Maurice furrowed his eyebrows. "How do you figure that?"
Maryann rose to her feet. "I have eyes."
Maurice stood up and hugged his mother. Then he looked out the window and saw Kenya pull into her driveway across the street. She'd been driving her mother's car, which meant she was probably out dress shopping. He was proven right when she popped the trunk and pulled out a garment bag. Maryann followed her son's glance.
"Here's your chance," she said as she let him go. Maurice bounded out on the front porch.
"Kenya, what's up?" he called out.
Surprised, she nearly dropped her dress. "Hey, Mo."
He crossed over to her. "Prom dress? What color is it, gold?"
"No, it isn't and why do you care? I heard that you're taking two girls with you."
Maurice shook his head. "I'm going alone," he said. "You and Shaun going out now?"
"We're just going to prom as friends," she said. "What does it matter to you, anyway? As I recall you told me a few weeks ago I needed a boyfriend."
I meant me, silly, he thought. "I did, but you can do much better than Shaun Hawkins. He's a square."
"I'm going to hang my dress up before it gets wrinkled."
"Is your mom inside? I want to ask her something," Maurice said, fumbling for an excuse not to leave Kenya's side.
"She's in Covington with my Dad. They're allegedly fishing."
"Allegedly?"
"Can you imagine Angela Taylor on a fishing boat?"
Maurice chuckled and shook his head. "Nah, I can't say that I can. You going to show me your dress or what?"
Kenya shook her head. "Why would I do that? According to you, I treat you too much like one of my girlfriends anyway."
"Let's just say, I want to see what the classy girls are wearing to the prom this year and I know you got some lemonade inside."
She laughed and shook her head. "You make me so sick. I should've known you wanted something other than just to see my dress."
I do want something else, I want you, he thought as he followed her in the house.


Kenya walked into her bedroom with Maurice on her heels. She'd been alone in her house with him before, but something seemed different today. Inhaling sharply, she hung her dress on the back of her closet and unzipped the plastic garment bag covering it.
"Wow, that dress is beautiful," he said as she took the hanger off the door. "See, classy."
"Thanks, Mo," she said, the quickly added. "Because you know I live for your approval."
"So sarcastic. I guess that's one of the many things that I love about you."
Did he say what I think he said? He must mean love like a sister. She hung her dress on the door, afraid to look at Maurice and respond to what he said. "I'd better get you that lemonade," she said.
Maurice grabbed Kenya's elbow, stopping her from dashing out of the room. "I know I should've stepped up to you sooner, but I really wanted to be your prom date."
"What?" Kenya couldn't believe what he was saying to her. "Why are you just now saying something to me? A week before the prom you want to tell me that you wanted to be my date? You're something else, you know that."
"I should've said something sooner, I know . . . ."
"No," Kenya said, placing her hand flat against his chest. "All this time you've been parading all of these other girls around, telling me about this one and that one, how in the hell was I supposed to know that you looked at me as anything but your homework buddy?"
Maurice took her hand in his. "You know you've always been more than that to me. I just-just didn't know how to say it. All of these other girls like me because I'm on the football team and my face is in the newspaper every week. I know that you're different."
Kenya snatched away from him. "Whatever, Mo."
"Let me prove it," he said as he closed the space between them. He wrapped his arms around Kenya's waist and pulled her against his chest. Kenya looked up at him and saw something in his eyes that she'd never seen before. Her heart thumped like a snare drum when he leaned in to her. She closed her eyes as his brought his lips down on top of hers. His lips were soft, just like a luscious piece of passion fruit. This kiss was much different from the one she had when she was nine years old. Maurice eased his tongue into her mouth, savoring the sweetness of her innocent kiss. He gripped her hips slowly inching his hands down her backside. Kenya felt his hardness spring forward. Scared, she stepped back from him breaking off their kiss.
"Maurice, I-I, you have to go," she said.
"Kenya, I wasn't trying to. . ."
"Please, leave before my parents get back."
"It's not like we haven't been alone in your parents' house before."
"Maurice, I'm sure there are a lot of chicken heads out there that would've just jumped into bed with you, but I'm not one of them."
"I know that. Kenya, I didn't come over here to get you into bed or anything like that. I've been quiet for too long, you're the one for me. You're the one I want. All of those other girls couldn't be you if they tried. Besides, I don't want an imitation, I want the real thing and that's you."
Kenya sat down on the edge of her bed, unable to tell Maurice that she felt the same way about him and wanted him just as much as he wanted her. But words failed her. And that so wasn't Kenya's style. Normally, she could say anything to Maurice. But was she willing to take their friendship to the next step? Could she really be Maurice Goings's girlfriend?
"Kenya?" he said.
"Hmm?"
"If you're going to kick me out, can I at least get my lemonade?"
She picked up her brown teddy bear and threw it at him. "So, is it me you like or the lemonade?"
He stood in front of her and stroked her cheek. "Call me greedy because I want them both."
Kenya grabbed his hand as she stood up. He planted a sweet kiss on her lips and they headed into the kitchen for a glass of lemonade.
Over the next few days, Maurice and Kenya seemed joined at the hip. One evening while the sat on the back porch of Kenya's house, Angela Taylor walked outside with a tray of iced tea and cookies. When Maurice and Kenya heard the back door open, they stopped holding hands.
"I don't know what you two think you're hiding. I just wonder what took so long for the both of you to start courting each other," she said.
"Mrs. Taylor, you know Kenya is stubborn," Maurice joked as he rose to take the tray from her hands.
"Don't I know it. I hear you have a lot of college scouts looking at you," she said. "They were talking about you in the newsroom today. So, have you decided where you're going to go?"
"No. Ma'am. I wanted to go to Georgia. But my momma says that I'm not going to college just to play football. She was impressed with the school in Charlotte. But I don't know." He looked over at Kenya. "I guess I could go to Clark."
"I'm not going to Clark," Kenya said.
"What?" Angela said. "I thought you'd made up your mind."
"No, Mommy, you made up your mind. How do I look going to a school that has an Angela Taylor scholarship? I'd crack under the pressure."
Shaking her head, Angela walked back into the house, mumbling, "Kids."
When she was out of earshot, Maurice turned to Kenya. "We should go to college together."
"What?"
"Didn't you apply to Johnson C. Smith too?"
"Yeah, because the waved my application fee that day. I got accepted too."
"That's where Ma wants me to go. And since they just got that NFL team, I could still make it to the pros."
"Maurice, I don't know, I was looking at Howard too. "
"Let me guess, you got accepted there too?"
"And to UGA."
"Damn, you must be the smartest senior at Douglass."
"Don't act like you didn't know. After all, you're passing calculus because of me."
"And you're so humble," he quipped then leaned over and kissed her on the cheek.
"What do you want to do, other than play football?" she asked.
Maurice shrugged his shoulders. "Whatever I do, I have to make enough money so that my mother doesn't have to work again. She's been doing so much for James and me. Ever since. . ." His voice trailed off and Kenya knew that he was thinking about his father. Richard Goings had been dead for six years, but when he was alive, he'd made the Goings household a living hell. He'd been abusive to Maryann and he cheated on her blatantly. Finally, it all became too much and Maryann found the strength to kick her husband out. That meant she had to work three jobs to take care of her boys. Then Richard was murdered. Though he had a life insurance policy, it hardly paid enough to put the family on easy street. Maryann used most of the money to pay for James's tuition at Morehouse.
James worked in midtown and lived off campus to help save his mother some money. He even sent part of his check home to help her pay for the household bills. Though Maurice had volunteered to get a job, Maryann wouldn't hear of it. She'd told him his job was to go to school.
"Anyway," Maurice said. "I like public relations. Just getting out there and talking to people. I'd love to work for Brand Jordan. Since he's from North Carolina, maybe I can get an internship with him if I'm up there too."
"I never knew you wanted to do PR," she said. "That's what I want to do, too."
"I thought you were going to be a journalist like your mom."
"How about no. I like to write, but not that much."
"Then we're going to start our own marketing and public relations firm. We're going to do it big, be millionaires by 35."
"From your mouth to God's ear," she said.
"Kenya," Angela called out from the inside of the house, "I've got to go into the office. When your dad gets here, tell him his dinner is in the oven. There's food for you and Maurice on the stove."
"All right, Ma," Kenya replied. "And that's another reason I don't want to do what she does. That's way too much work."
Maurice nodded, then reached out for Kenya to sit on his lap. She made sure her mother couldn't see her before she planted herself in Maurice's embrace.
"How did old boy take you standing him up for the prom?" he asked.
"Well," Kenya said, "I haven't told him yet. I mean, Shaun probably won't be able to get another date."
"So, I'm supposed to sit back and watch my girl go to the prom with another guy?"
"Mo, Shaun is just my friend and he just doesn't want to take his picture alone." She smacked him on the arm. "We're just going to take the pictures together and then I'm yours for the rest of the night."
Maurice pulled Kenya's face level with his. "I'm tripping," he said. "Sorry." He brushed his lips against hers. Kenya felt a flutter in her stomach as he nibbled her bottom lip and ran his hand across her thighs. She pulled back from him.
"Maurice, stop," she said weakly.
"I'm sorry, but I can't help but kiss you when you're this close to me."
She rose from his lap. "I don't think I'm ready for something physical," she said.
"And I don't want you to do anything that you're not ready for," he said. "But, you make me want to do things."
"Is that what you were doing with those other girls? Especially Deanna Hamilton?" Kenya asked.
"Deanna and I never did anything. She had a reputation that I wanted no part of," he said. "Yeah," Kenya said in disbelief.
"I'm not saying I'm a virgin, but I didn't sleep with Deanna. Half of the football team had that." "Well, I am a virgin and I want to make sure that when I do have sex that it means something to both of us."
Maurice closed the space between the two of them and pulled Kenya against his chest. "If you decide that you want something to happen between us, it's going to be meaningful to both of us. I really care about you, Kenya, and I have for longer than I wanted to admit. I made up excuses to be close to you. I'm really not that bad in calculus."
She smiled and hugged him. "What took you so long to say something?"
"Because I want you to be my friend forever. Besides, you and Shaun were getting closer and if you really liked him, I wasn't going to stand in the way."
"There's only one boy I really like," she said softly. "I think I liked him from the first time he kissed me when I was nine years old."
"You remember that?" Maurice asked with a chuckle. "James bet me five cents that I wouldn't do it."
She smacked him on the shoulder. "So, you kissed me for money, I'm hurt."
Maurice covered her lips with his, slowly kissing her until her body felt as if it was on fire. Before he got too carried away, Maurice pulled back. "See, I'll kiss you for free anytime," he said with a slick smile on his face.
Kenya slipped out of his embrace. "My mom left dinner for us and we'd better eat it." Maurice wrapped his arm around her waist and they headed into the house.

Prom Night
Kenya stood in the full length mirror in her mother's room fluffing out her curls. Her brown hair had never shined more and her eyes sparkled as she looked at herself. "You look beautiful," Angela said as she glanced up from her jewelry box.
"Thanks, Ma," Kenya said as she smoothed her dress. Angela walked over to her daughter and handed her a pair of diamond studs.
"This is going to set your outfit off. Your father gave me these on our third wedding anniversary."
Kenya took the earrings from her mother and put them in her ears. Angela was right. The diamonds were just what she needed to make her dress even more special.
"Thank you, Mommy," Kenya said as she stole one more glance at herself.
"I'm surprised you and Maurice aren't going together."
"We're going to meet up at the prom. Besides, Shaun asked me first."
Angela smiled. "You're a good girl, Kenya. I know what prom night means to a lot of young girls. Make sure anything you do tonight that you're ready for it."
"Ma."
"You and Maurice have gotten really close and you two are going off to the same college in the fall and I just want you keep making good decisions. Besides, I'm too young to be a grandmother and if you go off to college and get pregnant, you're going to raise your own child. And you better hope and pray that Maurice is mature enough to step up to the plate and help you."
Kenya frowned at her mother. "Do we really have to talk about this now?"
Angela threw up her hands. "I just want to put it out there. I expect great things from you. You're smart and you can do anything you put your mind to."
"I know. I am Angela Taylor's daughter."
Henry, Kenya's father, walked into the bedroom. "You know, she had help making you. Look at you. You look like a princess," he said then hugged his little girl. "Don't make me come looking for you and your boyfriend tonight. Be home by 1:30."
"Yes, sir," she said.
"Shaun is in the living room waiting for you," Henry said. "I think the boy is going to pass out if you don't hurry up and get out there."
Kenya smoothed her dress and smiled. "All right, I'll see you guys later," she said then headed into the living room to meet Shaun. But she really couldn't wait to get to the Hilton and see Maurice.

Maurice watched as Shaun and Kenya got into Shaun's Ford Thunderbird. He knew they were just friends, but he felt a burning jealousy creeping up his back.
"Why are you letting your girlfriend go to prom with another dude?" James asked.
"Why are you here?" Maurice asked. "Isn't there something at the AUC you could be doing?"
"Nope. I'm spending the weekend with my mother," James said. "Why aren't you escorting Kenya?"
"Shaun asked her first. She says they're just friends and she's going to hook up with me at hotel."
"She looked really good," James said. "You might want to hurry up and get to midtown. Shaun didn't look like he was looking at 'just a friend' to me."
Maurice smacked his brother on the arm. "Shut up." Maurice stood up and smoothed his black tuxedo pants. "Ma, I'm getting ready to leave."
Maryann, who had been in the kitchen working on a new recipe for cinnamon buns, dashed into the living room with her camera. "Wait, I have to get a picture, because there's no telling when I'm going to see you in a suit again."
Maurice posed as if he were a male super model, flashing a brilliant smile for his mother's camera.
"Oh Lord," James groaned, "put a dude in a suit and he thinks he's Puff Daddy."
"Shut up. You know I make this look good," Maurice said as he did a b-boy pose for his mother, who was still snapping pictures.
"I wish I could've gotten a shot of you and Kenya," Maryann said. "I can't believe you're okay with her going to the prom with another guy."
"They're just friends and in a few minutes, she's going to ditch him and the punch bowl and spend the rest of the evening dancing with me," Maurice said as he twirled his mother around the room.
Maryann smacked him on the shoulder. "That better be all you two have planned for tonight."
"Good night, Ma." Maurice said before kissing her on the cheek and dashing out the door. James followed his brother on to the porch.
"Mo," he said. "Why don't you take my car?" James handed his brother the keys to his Jeep Cherokee. "If you look in the glove box, there might be something in there that you need."
"Thanks," Maurice said, happy that he wasn't going to have to drive his mother's oil leaking Cadillac. He climbed into the jeep and opened the glove compartment. Inside he found a box of Trojan brand condoms. He laughed as he closed the compartment back. Kenya wasn't ready for sex and he wasn't going to press the issue. He really cared about her and despite what everyone at school thought, he wasn't as sexually experienced as he claimed.
There was the one cheerleader who introduced him to oral sex, but he'd never actually done the act. Maurice played the role of the football star, pretending to live up to the stereotypes. But he didn't think sex was something to just play with. He wanted his first time to be special and he wanted the girl he had sex with to be just as special.
Maybe Kenya is the one, he thought as he cranked up the car and peeled out of the driveway.

A few hours later, after Kenya and Maurice had danced until her feet were throbbing, the couple left the prom and headed back to their neighborhood. "I had a great time," Kenya said as she climbed into James's jeep.
"So did I. It felt really good holding you," he said.
Kenya blushed. "It felt good to be held. Do we have to end the night now?"
"What do you have in mind?"
She shrugged. "Everything about tonight was just so magical. I just don't want it to end."
"Then it won't. I have an idea, when we get home, let's meet in your back yard. I have something I want to give you."
"Really?"
"Yes. Go inside, change your clothes and let's meet by your dad's tool shed."
When Maurice arrived at Kenya's house, he walked her to the door and gave her gentle kiss on the lips before whispering, "I'll see you later."
Kenya floated into the house, almost not seeing her mother sitting on the sofa.
"Kenya," Angela said. "You're home early."
"Yes, Maurice and I wanted to go and get something to eat, but I wanted to change my clothes."
Angela patted the cushion beside her. "Tell me all about it."
Kenya smiled at her mother and wished she would just go to bed. "It was a lot of fun. Maurice and I danced all night and now my feet hurt. Can we talk about this in the morning?"
Angela nodded and rose from the sofa. "Remember what I said earlier. And since you came home early, I guess I can extend your curfew by an hour while you two go and get something to eat." Angela stroked Kenya's cheek. "You really look beautiful, I wish my mother could see you right now."
Normally Kenya would've asked her mother about the rift between her and her grandmother, but tonight, she had other plans. She dashed down the hall into her room and changed into a tee shirt dress and a pair of black Reeboks. After hearing her mother go into her bedroom, Kenya headed outside and was surprised to see Maurice was waiting for her with a blanket and a couple of candles.
"Where are we going to put all of this?" she asked with a smile on her face.
"If I remember correctly, there is a clearing inside your dad's shed that will be perfect for us." Maurice held up a bag, which contained a special midnight snack.
"You thought of everything, didn't you?" Kenya said as she opened the door to tool shed.
"Yes. And," he said as he walked in behind Kenya, "this is for you." He held out his football jersey. "Wear this to school on Monday because I want everybody to know that you are mine."
Kenya wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly. She wanted to say something, but before Kenya could get her words together, Maurice had his lips on top of hers. She closed her eyes as he kissed her and ran his hands up and down her back. Kenya pressed her body against Maurice's hard one. As they stood there chest to chest and locked in a passionate kiss, she wondered if this night was the beginning of forever. Maurice stepped back from Kenya. "I'd better get this stuff set up. My mom made some cinnamon buns and they are delicious."
He spread the blanket across the floor and placed the candles on a shelf above them. Kenya watched him as he lit the candles and then removed his shirt. She reached for the baked goods and set them in the middle of the blanket. When Maurice sat behind her, he pulled her against his chest and wrapped his arms around her waist. His lips gazed her neck and Kenya shivered. "What are you doing?" she asked.
"Exploring. I have a confession," he said as he reached for a bun. "I made a decision about us tonight."
"Really?"
"You're the only girl I'm ever going to love."

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