Monday, April 27, 2009

The Professor - Ch. 28.1

A week later

Once Aurelia returned to the Virgin Islands, she kept her cell phone constantly turned off for seven days straight. She only turned it on when she needed to make a call. It was promptly turned back off soon thereafter.

Aurelia practiced this new phone habit in order to avoid Baron’s calls, which were many. And she outright refused to read any more of his text messages. All of them were deleted as soon as she saw the name of the sender.

The person that Aurelia did continue to communicate with in California was Bambi. As business partners they needed to stay in touch. Especially with this new website they were trying to develop for Aurora’s Whispers. For that task, they enlisted the help of one of Bambi’s sorority sisters, Flora Torrey.

Flora was a computer technology major who freelanced as a website designer on the side. She was also the twin sister of Fletcher Torrey, a very popular AU basketball star.

After talking with Bambi about the progress of the website on Thursday afternoon, Aurelia turned her phone off again and went to check on her brother. Trent had been released from the hospital three days after his appendix was removed. He was expected to make a full recovery between two to three weeks.

Eager to do her part to assist in his recovery, Aurelia made sure that Trent got lots of bed rest, ate a high-fiber diet, and drank lots of water to keep his digestive system properly flushed. She also checked his incisions often to monitor any signs of infection. So far there were none.

The hardest part of all was getting Trent to remain in bed for any long period of time. With it being only a week after his surgery, he was already itching to get back outside and play like he’d done before.

Aurelia wasn’t having that. However, she did let Trent outside for walks around the property and non-strenuous games when the weather was nice. Today the temperature was seventy-five degrees as it had been almost every day this week. Thus Trent was in the front yard playing marbles with a neighbor’s grandchild.

Upon making sure that her brother was fine, Aurelia returned to the house to do a load of laundry. Her mother was busy cooking dinner in the kitchen. They were having roti, a West Indian type burrito usually made with curry spiced chicken, shrimp or conch, potatoes, vegetables, and hot sauce wrapped in a tortilla.

The Buntings were not eating roti with conch tonight. Aurelia and Trent were not partial to snails no matter how edible they were. However, chicken and shrimp were definitely among tonight’s menu items.

As a whole, the Buntings had been eating a lot heartier this past week, although they still had hot dogs and Ramen noodles in the house. This surplus was largely due to the excess funds Aurelia still had on her credit cards after prepaying next semester’s educational expenses before leaving California. She also used some of those funds to pay her apartment rent and a trusted neighbor to watch out for her car.

The rest of the money Baron loaned Aurelia had been spent on other Bunting family members. Unable to stomach the consequences of her aunt, sickly uncle, and six young cousins being in the dark, she paid their overdue electric bill, bringing the balance down to a satisfied zero.

In the dark.

Aurelia suppressed a moan as she recalled a few things she and Baron had done in the dark at his place. Or rather in the semi-darkness of his candlelit bedroom.

The man had been so good to her in every way that night. She’d felt so loved, so desired, so downright adored in his presence.

And yet they couldn’t be together. There was no room for a black person in the Weaver family.

Suddenly curious about the number of times Baron had tried to contact her in the last thirty minutes since she’d been outside, Aurelia went to the wicker end table in the living room and retrieved her cell phone.

Turning the phone back on, she saw that Baron had tried to contact her twice in the last half hour. She also saw an urgent text message from Bambi, telling her to call her immediately. She quickly phoned her in return.

“What’s wrong? Did Flora run into some problems with the website designs?” Aurelia asked in a rush, automatically assuming the worst. One couldn’t really blame her considering how gloomy her life had been recently.

“Nothing’s wrong. Everything’s right!” Bambi exclaimed in an excited tone.

Then she began to tell Aurelia about the latest sales figures and reports that all pointed to the same phenomenon – Aurora’s Whispers had sold off the shelves in every store it was located. Boutiques that wouldn’t have stocked an unknown fragrance like hers even if she’d paid them to a month ago were now calling in orders. Some of those boutiques were even from the Platinum Triangle – a trio of adjoining high income areas that included Bel Air, Beverly Hills, and Holmby Hills.

“Girl, I just got off the phone with yet another boutique from Rodeo Drive. Rodeo Drive!” Bambi giggled. “They want three whole cases of Aurora’s Whispers.”

Aurelia’s eyes couldn’t stretch any wider in their sockets. They’d been bucked for minutes now. She’d even had to sit down on the nearby sofa, because her legs simply couldn’t bear up under this kind of news.

“H…how did they find out about my fragrance? We’ve haven’t even gotten the website up and running yet,” Aurelia stammered out.

“Word of mouth, girl. Boutique managers are calling by customer request. Meaning, people are coming in and calling in for your fragrance. The calls have been most dominant in the Bel Air area,” Bambi informed.

Baron has relatives in Bel Air. Lots of relatives. All wealthy and influential, Aurelia recalled silently as tears welled up in her eyes. That man. That wonderful, wonderful man.

© 2009 by Mi’Chelle Dodson/Suprina Frazier

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