Chandler didn’t see or hear from Inaya again until April 1st. It was almost a full month since their last date and he was starting to believe that she’d given up on them. He received no calls, texts, or visits. She hadn’t even overseen his CASA training. A male social worker named Mel Aspen had done that. Any further information she had concerning the program was routed to his email.
If it wasn’t for the fact that Chandler needed to observe a case hearing today, he probably wouldn’t be seeing or hearing from Inaya now. After all, the ball was still in her court and she hadn’t dribbled or even attempted to make one shot. How was that for his nearly non-existent ego now?
Chandler almost didn’t recognize Inaya today. It looked like her in the melon-colored tie-front business suit, but it sure didn’t sound like her. Gone was the shy, soft-spoken woman who blushed at the slightest compliment and became even more introverted when offended. In her place was a firecat with flaming brown eyes and a booming voice that needed no microphone to be heard clear across the courtroom as she fiercely spoke on behalf of the three children whose case she was assigned to.
Chandler suppressed a moan at her alluring contrasts. I do believe that I’m looking at a modern day Wonder Woman. And oh yes, she is definitely someone worth waiting for. He couldn’t wait to see what she would do and say next. If he had social workers like her back when he was a child, he wouldn’t have been moved around so much.
Chandler continued to watch in awe as Inaya provided positive school report cards, personal comments from teachers about the equally positive changes in the children’s behavior, and clothing receipts with corresponding pictures of the now well-dressed children. The whole time she sang the high praises of the children’s grandmother. It almost brought tears to his eyes. Some people in the courtroom were actually crying.
By the end of Inaya’s heartwarming disclosure, the judge decided to allow the three siblings to remain in the home of their loving grandmother versus returning them to the home of their promiscuous young mother. Although their mother tested negative for drugs recently, she still hadn’t found a job after six months of counseling and was living with yet another boyfriend.
“I agree with you, Ms. Seabrook, that although the mother’s new boyfriend has a good job and is willing to allow the children to live in his stable home with their mother, there is no guarantee that this relationship will last any longer than the others had. The fact that she didn’t bother to show up today is an added strike against her. Therefore, the children will remain with their grandmother until the mother has proven that she can maintain a stable, drug-free environment for her children through her own efforts and not those of another,” Judge Levy concluded.
There were many happy faces at the end of that meeting. The grandmother was overjoyed and couldn’t seem to stop hugging Inaya, who beamed with joy. Chandler had never seen her happier or so in her element. He waited patiently on the sidelines with his mentor as she shook hands with the judge and then hugged several colleagues, who’d come to support and watch her in action today.
“Inaya’s one of the best,” Mel said from beside him. “We all hope to be like her when we grow up.”
Looks like you’re hoping for more than that, Chandler thought, seeing the stars in his mentor’s eyes. Though he didn’t like that his mentor had a crush on Inaya, he understood it. She was an amazing woman that any man would be honored to have.
“I agree. She’s definitely one to emulate,” Chandler said aloud. “Excuse me while I go and personally congratulate her.” Unlike Mel, he would not be content to just admire Inaya from a distance. He was too aggressive for the sidelines of life and yet wise enough to know when to fall back. Now was the time for aggression.
“Congratulations, Ms. Seabrook. That was quite a convincing presentation you made back there. Very inspirational, too. You should have been a lawyer,” Chandler said, standing directly behind her.
Inaya heard that familiar baritone voice and froze. She had no idea Chandler was here. She’d been so caught up in her presentation that she hadn’t noticed anyone but the judge with whom she needed to present her case. Now heat traveled in a wavy pattern down her body like a rollercoaster ride she took on a church field trip as a child. She felt exhilarated then. She felt even more exhilarated now.
Inaya slowly turned to face the owner of that deep voice. “Thanks, Mr. Edenfield, your words mean a lot to me.” Even though she spoke professionally to him, she couldn’t control her racing heartbeat or suppress the joy of seeing him again. The ebony blazer, triple-pleated taupe trousers, sky-blue dress shirt and matching silk tie he wore had her hormones jumping and every cell in her body stimulated.
“Do they?” Chandler looked intently at her.
“Yes.” She hooded her eyes to hide the fiery attraction that she’d seen mirrored in his own.
“It’s still there for me, too, princess,” Chandler leaned down to whisper in her right ear.
Inaya shuddered at his delicious nearness. At his sexy boldness.
Chandler made another bold move by pulling her to the side to speak more privately. “I have so many more words to say to you, Inaya. If you’ll only give me the chance.”
Inaya blushed. “I’ve been thinking a lot about that and you should be hearing from me soon. Real soon,” she promised in a whisper.
“I look forward to it.” Chandler smiled.
“So do I.” Inaya suppressed a wide grin as she walked back over to her waiting colleagues.
© 2014 by Suprina Frazier