Aurelia’s eyes watered at Baron’s heartfelt proposal. Her mouth watered at the sight of all those carats in his hand. And not the kind you eat either.
What did he do, go directly to
“Marry em, gal,” said a voice from behind them. It was Emile Bunting, Aurelia’s mother. She’d been in the kitchen cooking breakfast when Baron arrived. After hearing the mower turn off for too long, she’d turned off the food and come to the back door to investigate.
“I don’t even know em yet and even I can see de love dropping from him eyes,” Emile continued through the screen door.
“Mrs. Bunting, I presume,” Baron said, rising to his feet again. He turned to face her, prepared to make the proper introductions and whatever else was required to win Aurelia’s hand in marriage. “My name is Dr. Baron Weaver. And yes, I do love your daughter very much. If it’s all right with you, I’d like to marry her as soon as possible.”
“Tis fine wid me,” Emile said, noting his expensive clothing, shoes, and that large ring in his hand.
Baron’s obvious love for her daughter was enough for Emile to give her complete approval of the union. Yet it was his ability to take care of Aurelia financially is what really put him over the top. Finally her daughter wouldn’t have to struggle so hard to make ends meet. Finally she’d have an easy life like her father always wanted.
“I need to think about this,” Aurelia said, heading for the house, leaving Baron and the lawn mower in the yard.
Emile motioned for Baron to follow her daughter inside as she held the screen door open for them both.
He quickly obeyed that non-verbal gesture, following Aurelia all the way into the Bunting living room, which was inundated with unique wicker furnishings handcrafted by Emile and her sister. The same living room that doubled as a bedroom for Aurelia because she wanted her mother and brother to have the only two real bedrooms in the house.
“What’s dere to tink ‘bout, Ree-Ree?” Emile asked her daughter upon entering the living room right after Baron. “De man loves you. Do you not love em?” She already knew the answer to her question since Aurelia had done nothing but talk about the man all week, especially last night. However, Emile deemed it necessary for her daughter to openly admit her feelings now.
Aurelia twirled around from her place near the large picture window. “Yes, but I wish I didn’t,” she replied, keeping her gaze averted from Baron’s.
“Why?” he asked, clearly pained by her admission.
“Because it hurts too much ta love you, Baron,” Aurelia squeezed out in a semi-whisper as she forced glossy eyes his way. “I’ve been heartsick all week ‘cause of you. I may have been born on April Fool’s Day, but I’m not foolish enough ta sign up for dat kind of pain over ah lifetime,” she concluded with tears rolling down her cheeks.
Baron moved towards her in comfort. He stopped short in his tracks when Aurelia put up a hand and shook her head, signifying that she couldn’t handle his touch right now. She could barely handle being in the same room with him.
“It sounds to me like you been heartsick ‘cause you won’t let yourself love em. Not ‘cause you love em as ah whole,” Emile spoke up, quickly getting to the heart of the matter.
Aurelia broke gaze with Baron and looked at her mother. “So you’re saying I should let myself love him, despite our obvious differences and de pain it may cause?” she asked, blinking rapidly to clear her vision.
“Yes,” Emile advised. “Sharing de same culture, background, and complexion is no guarantee for happiness or pain-free living. Nor should deh be requirements for ah serious relationship. Sometimes tis de differences demselves dat add spice to ah great love.”
“I agree, Mrs. Bunting. My parents are living proof of how great love can be between people from different backgrounds. And whatever pain they suffered was considerably lessened by and pale in comparison to their great love,” Baron said, grateful to have such a worthy and an unexpected advocate in Aurelia’s mother.
“But your mother is one of de lighter-skinned Mexicans, Baron. Which means she’s around de same complexion as your father and so could pass for an exotic brunette, thereby producing less painful racial situations,” Aurelia replied, recalling the pictures of them that she’d seen on the walls of his home. “As you can see, I’m not on de light side like my mother and little brother. I take my deep brown color after my father. Which means I could neva pass for anyting but black.”
Baron moved closer to tenderly cup her face in his hands, one of which contained the ring he bought her. “I don’t want you to pass for anything but who you are, Aurelia. I love your beautiful brown skin. That’s not going to change even if the whole world hates your complexion.”
Aurelia’s eyes shimmered with fresh tears. “Oh, Baron,” she whispered, truly unable to resist any longer in the face of such unconditional love. “Since you put everyting dat way, of course I’ll marry you. But only under one condition.”
“Name it,” Baron replied, rubbing his thumb across her bottom lip. He couldn’t wait to kiss her.
“Dat you get ta know my…my little brother first. If
Although Baron had not made his brothers’ approval mandatory for her, he nodded in consent anyway. At this point, and after the miserable week he’d had without her, he would have agreed to anything. The fact that he’d already greased the palms of so many in order to cut down on the island’s eight-day waiting period and a few other red tape items were added incentives.
Across the room, Emile smiled as Baron finally slipped the ring upon Aurelia’s left hand. She discreetly headed back to the kitchen when her future son-in-law proceeded to seal that moment with a loving kiss.
I’m gonna make sho’
© 2009 by Mi’Chelle Dodson/Suprina Frazier
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