By Valerie Wilson Wesley

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Like I said, he didn't really go to my school, but he was around. ” “Oh God! ” He gave me a look that was at the same time helpless and incredulous, reminding me again just how grown he had become. ” He nodded. ” “I don't know. I told you, I avoid those guys. They probably do. Yeah, they do. Enough of the third degree! ” There was a hint of annoyance in his voice that I ignored. ” His eyes lit up when he said her name, which, I knew from observing men, wasn't so much recognition as acknowledgment of a certain kind of woman.

There was no mention of Celia or how he had died. Beloved son of Brent Liston. That was a laugh. “What about your father? ” Disgusted, I slapped the paper down on the table, which, of course, got Jamal's attention. He picked it up and read the section I'd left open. “Wow! Damn! That's cold! ” Red flags popped up. ” Jamal shrugged and turned to the sports pages. I took his silence to mean that he did. ‘And what makes you think somebody took him out, Jamal? The paper doesn't say anything about the way he died.

I pulled back into the shadows even though I knew it was too late. What did he want with me? Was it simply chance that he was standing here under my window tonight? Instinct, which I have in spades, told me that chance had nothing to do with it, that he wanted something only I could give him. Fear squeezed my stomach tight, and for a moment I couldn't catch my breath. “No,” I said aloud, speaking to the fear as if it were a person. “You're not going to get me! You're not going to take me over! ” I spoke to the man.

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