“I don’t tink you should tell Baron ‘bout
“No, Mama, I’m not trying to sabotage my happiness at all,” Aurelia replied, settling down beside her mother on the peach-colored comforter. “I just feel like I’m defrauding Baron by continuing to withhold the truth about
“I understand,” Emile said, even though she still wished her daughter would wait until after the I-do’s. “Answer me dis though. How come you never felt de need to share de truth about
“I never truly loved Cain,” Aurelia admitted with all sincerity. “I thought I did, but I realized later on that I was mainly there for the financial benefits of the relationship. To be honest, I was more hurt about Roxy betraying me than I was about Cain doing so. I guess that’s because a sense of sisterhood still meant more to me than a man back then. It doesn’t now though. Now I’d rather have a good man over a lousy sister-friend any day.”
“Well, I can say one ting for you. You sure know how to pick ‘em. Every man you ever been in love wid or thought you were in love wid was rich. Mind telling me yur secret now dat I’m finally ready to lay aside my widowhood?” Emile chuckled, having married just for love before.
Emile’s sister Gladys had also married just for love. In fact, they married two brothers. Both Bunting men were poor when they met them. One died in poverty. The other was still in it and having health problems to boot.
Fortunately, Samuel was keeping his diabetes better maintained than his older brother had done. It certainly had not affected his ability to produce more children like it had
“It’s all about associations, Mama,” Aurelia shared, ready to move on to another subject now that her mind was made up about Baron. “At least that’s what
Emile frowned with disapproval. “Okay, I know we talked ‘bout how important it was to find ah wealthy man, but I neva told you to slide into gold-digger shoes, Ree-Ree.”
“I haven’t, Mama,” Aurelia reassured her. “All a gold-digger thinks about is money when she meets a man. Looks, age, and background seldom matter. A gold-digger definitely doesn’t care about a man’s character or even if he got his money the wrong way. I care about all those things and so much more. Especially after my relationship with Cain.”
“I guess I can take comfort in dat.” Emile sighed in relief. “By de way, how did you and Baron meet?” she asked, unaware of her daughter’s career as an exotic dancer. All this time Emile thought Aurelia was being paid to choreograph dance videos, thereby putting those years of dance instruction to good use. At least that’s what she’d been told.
Aurelia’s face took on the look of shame as she suddenly realized how many secrets she had been keeping from everybody. When did all of this secrecy begin?
After that kiss they shared, Aurelia and Marshall kept their relationship a secret for a whole month. She didn’t tell her mother that she had become sexually active. If
Ready to purge to her mother, Aurelia told Emile all about her secret profession as an exotic dancer, including how she met Cain at an upscale strip club and Baron at a wealthy bachelor’s party.
Emile was stunned to say the least. She had no idea that her daughter had used her dancing abilities to make money that way. Or that that money had been used to not only help pay for Aurelia’s education, but to also help Emile and
“Say something, Mama,” Aurelia urged when her mother remained silent for two whole open-mouthed minutes after hearing her out.
“What I ‘posed to say? Dat I’m proud of what you did? ‘Cause I’m not!” Emile fumed. “And in no way would yur father have approved of dat occupation no matter how hard tings got for dis family. In fact, he’d be furious to know dat all dat lawn care he traded for yur dance lessons was in vain. Dis is de kinda ting we would expect from ah gal like Jewell, not you!”
“I know.” A glossy-eyed Aurelia hung her head. “I’m sorry for disappointing de both of you.”
“You should be!” Emile snapped. At the sight of her daughter’s tears, a level of guilt pricked her heart. How could she stay angry with someone who had sacrificed her own dignity for the greater good of others? Aurelia’s sacrifice had been misguided, but still done from a good heart.
“I still love you, baby,” Emile said soothingly, wrapping her arms around her silently weeping daughter. “And I’m way more proud of you den disappointed.”
“Thanks, Mama,” Aurelia said, sniffing back her tears.
“Dis Baron must really love you, huh? Knowing what he does already,” Emile said in a lighter tone.
“Yes, he does. Which is why I know I have to tell him the truth about
“Maybe he won’t see it as ah bad ting at all. Maybe he’ll see it as another chance to give you even more unconditional love,” Emile said, hoping for the best as well. “And, Ree-Ree?”
“Yes, Mama?” Aurelia said, pausing at the door.
“If dis man do forgive you dis other ting, you betta rock dat honeymoon on Friday.”
“Yes, Mama.” Aurelia chuckled and then headed for the bathroom to shower. It was time to get real spiffy. She knew exactly which dress to wear, too.
If showing some leg can help me get the man. Then maybe showing some leg can help me keep the man, Aurelia reasoned desperately, determined to give herself every possible advantage tonight.
© 2009 by Mi’Chelle Dodson/Suprina Frazier
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The dress Aurelia decides to wear to the hotel: