Copyright © 2006 by Leah Kelley



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Angel sank into the poufy chair near the window of the Public Library with a sigh of relief.  With the unseasonably cool weather, the walk to the library had aggravated her asthma, leaving her breathless and wheezing.  By the time she finished coughing, several of the other patrons glanced at her in irritation.  Leaning forward in her chair, she concentrated on catching her breath while preventing another coughing spell.


Today, no one else sat in the windowed alcove that overlooked the city.  She’d half risen to go find herself a book when her eyes lit on a Snickers bar someone had left sitting on the end table beside her.  She glanced about and slowly reached over to snatch the candy, her mouth already watering.  Only one bite had been taken from it.  At one time, Angel would have thought nothing of wasting almost a whole candy bar, but now it was unthinkable.  Starting at the uneaten end, she began to nibble at the chocolate, closing her eyes in sheer ecstasy.  When she got to the end with the bite taken from it, she shrugged and downed it as well, unwilling to waste even one bite of the rare treat.


Kerel couldn’t believe his eyes.  He’d gotten up to exchange his newspaper for another and returned just in time to see the little blonde white girl steal his Snickers Bar he’d already taken a bite out of.  He shook his head and watched her as she savored every morsel.  Amused at first, it took him a few moments to question what kind of person would pick up a partially eaten candy bar and treat it like a feast.  His brow furrowed.  Someone very hungry.  Someone, perhaps, who had no food in their dorm.  He walked over to sit in the seat adjacent to the girl.


“Kerel… hi,” she said, swiping at her mouth with the back of her hand.


“Angel…how’s it going?”


She grinned slightly, showing chocolate covered front teeth.  “Good.  It’s a little cold outside, which makes my asthma act up so I had a big coughing spell.  I thought they were going to throw me out of here a few minutes ago.”


She grinned slightly, showing chocolate covered front teeth.  “Good.  It’s a little cold outside, which makes my asthma act up so I had a big coughing spell.  I thought they were going to throw me out of here a few minutes ago.”


Kerel had heard someone coughing earlier.  He hadn’t realized it was his little friend who seemed to be at the library most every morning.  “Maybe you need to stay inside when it’s cold,” he told her.


She nodded, but her eyes slid away from his.  “Yeah…”


Kerel settled into his chair and pretended to read his newspaper while sipping his coffee, but in truth his mind was on the little white girl who left her seat to find a book and then returned to curl her body up in the chair, her worn tennis shoes abandoned on the floor as if she were at home.  Remembering his own time as a poor college student, he sighed.  The cafeteria food had inevitably been horrible, and even then it was terribly inadequate for a man of his size.  He supposed Angel didn’t need as much food as himself, but still… he hated to see her hungry.


Kerel didn’t have class until 1:00 pm most days, so he usually spent his mornings in this comfy library spot reading the newspaper while sipping his coffee, before he went to the gym for a rigorous workout.  Since his retirement a couple years ago from the NFL, he found he was content to keep a quieter schedule than the hectic days of his youth.  He grinned to himself.  Most people would consider thirty-one years old still youthful, but after eight years of smashing his body against other three hundred pound bodies, he felt anything but.  Irregardless, he enjoyed the quiet routine of his life, and even though he’d have his PhD in Psychology in a few more months, he didn’t plan to work full time since he was already financially secure.


After an hour, Kerel stood to his full height of 6’3” and stretched, grinning down at Angel when he noticed her watching him.  She’d seemed a bit nervous when he first started to engage her in conversation a couple months ago, but he supposed that was to be expected.  Most little white girls were raised not to trust big black guys, and Kerel usually didn’t worry with trying to put them at ease.  But something about Angel drew him, so he’d found himself working toward gaining her trust.


Deciding to skip both his workout and class, he sat back down, leaning forward with his elbows propped on his knees. “Let’s go get some lunch.”


Angel’s blue eyes snapped to his.  “Um… I don’t… I…”


“Come on.  I don’t have class today and I need some company,” he lied, “I’ll buy.”


Angel swallowed and smiled.  “Okay.”


It was sprinkling rain by the time they left the restaurant, but Kerel didn’t mind.  Though it was early September, the temperature had only reached the mid-60’s after a very chilly morning with the temperature in the 40’s.  With the drizzle of rain, it felt just like an autumn day, Kerel’s favorite time of the year with the comfortable temperatures, the turning leaves, and of course, football season.


His companion seemed a bit breathless, so he stopped to peer down at her.  “Is your asthma acting up again?”


She shook her head.  “You’re just walking fast.”


He realized she had to take two steps to his one and chuckled as he took her hand, surprising himself with the unplanned gesture.  “I’m sorry.  I’ll walk slower.”


He intended to walk her back to the library several blocks away, but when the sky suddenly opened in a cloudburst, dousing them in what seemed like buckets of rain, he started to run for his condo which was much closer.



Angel squealed when the cloudburst began out of the blue, but she didn’t have time to think before Kerel burst into a sprint, dragging her along behind him and almost pulling her feet out from under her.  Before she knew it, she found herself tucked under his arm like a football while he flew with her along the sidewalk.  By the time he dashed into a building, they were both soaked and Angel’s giggle box turned over.  Kerel sat her on her feet and pushed the up button for the elevators, water streaming from his shaved head to drip from his nose.


“Are you laughing at me?” he asked in a mild voice.


Angel snorted and shook her head, one hand covering her mouth.  She backed away when he advanced on her, but more giggles erupted when she her back met the wall.


He cocked his head to the side.  “I think you’re in need of a good spanking.”


Angel’s heart picked up a beat.  She snorted again but shook her head in denial.


The elevator dinged.


Kerel grabbed her arm and propelled her forward, landing a sharp little slap on her bottom before he sent her into the elevator.


Angel rubbed her stinging posterior while the elevator took them upward all the way to the 11th floor, her laughter finally under control.  “Where are we going?”


“To my place.”


The elevator doors opened and Angel stepped out, noticing the thick, luxurious carpet, the opulent decorations, the heavy oak doors of the condos themselves.  “You live here?”


He raised a brow in what seemed like a challenge she didn’t understand.  “Yes.”

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