"Mom, I'll be right back. I'm going to make a sandwich." I interrupted.
"Michael, why don't you and Shayla-Elizabeth go out to eat?" She suggested.
"Oh, you're right..." I said and waited in the library.
"You and Michael have a good dinner, alright?"
"Mrs. Jackson, if I may be honest, I would really love to try your cooking." Shayla smiled.
"It's not all that great. Let Michael take you out to dinner."
"Oh, no. I insist. I'm a college girl and it's been a while since I've had a home cooked meal." Shayla rubbed her belly in emphasis.
"Is that so?"
"Well, Ms. Shayla-Elizabeth, would you like to help me in the kitchen?"
"I would love to, but I must warn you, I'm not all that great of a cook yet."
"That's okay. You can help stir or something."
"Cool beans!" Shayla followed my mother.
"I didn't know you couldn't cook." I walked beside Shayla.
"Well, I can't. I suck at it." She laughed.
"I bet you don't."
"Trust me, I do."
"Whatever you say, Shayla. Hey, do you want to meet Janet?"
"Sure! Mrs. Jackson, I'm going to meet Janet real quick and I'll be right back."
"Alrighty!" Mom said as I led Shayla up the stairs.
"So, how old is she? Isn't she like thirteen or something?"
"Yeah, how'd you know?"
"I honestly just guessed." She laughed.
"Well, thank you!"
"Dunk!" I shouted as we reached the door to her room. I opened the door to find her reading the Bible as Mom instructed.
"Dunk, I want you to meet someone. This is Shayla-Elizabeth."
"You mean, Shayla?" She asked.
"Yeah, but Shayla-Elizabeth is her full name."
"Oh! Michael, guess what?"
"You two are a cute couple already." She teased.
I blushed, "Oh, God."
"Aww, thank you, Janet." Shayla smiled as Janet pulled her in for a hug. "Ya know, I used to watch you on your old TV show 'The Jackson's Variety Show.' You are an excellent actress. I can tell you're gonna be a great actress if you continue to pursue it in the future."
"Well, thank you, Shayla! Michael, she's a keeper." We laughed. They're getting along already. Now I wonder what kind of impact she has on Joseph, but that's a different story. We'll see when he gets back from visiting his other child... "Have you met Randy yet?" Janet asked Shayla.
Shayla shook her head, "no."
"I forgot, he's with Joseph. You'll see him later."
"He's with Joseph?" I asked Janet.
"Yeah. They went to go visit his other child. Be careful around Randy, Shayla. He's a ladies man too." Janet warned.
"Okay." Shayla giggled as she followed me out.
"Michael, where is your room?"
"Right across from yours."
"I know that... Can I see it?"
"It's a bit messy. I wouldn't want you to see it right now."
"I don't care." She shrugged.
"I'm serious, Shayla. I have a pile of clothes on the floor and-"
"Michael, please..." She smiled that oh so beautiful smile of hers.
I blushed, "that's not right." I said as I led her to my room.
"What?" She laughed.
"You smiling at me like that. That's not right at all. This is my room. Don't say I didn't tell you so." I opened the door to my room. My clothes were heaped in a pile. My bed was a mess. I'm embarrassed.
"Well, it's not as bad as Matthew's. He used to have food sitting everywhere for days! This is nothing. Remember, I have three older brothers. I'm used to a mess. You're probably the cleanest guy I've ever seen."
"Yeah! Shoot, Michael, your room kind of looks like mine. A little bit here and a little bit there. Just pick up some things it's clean." She shrugged.
"Well, thanks. I don't feel embarrassed anymore." I smiled.
"You shouldn't have been. But hey, I'm going to go help your mother with dinner. I'm sure she's wondering where I am." She made her way to the kitchen. What was I tripping about? Did I honestly forget she had three brothers? But still, mother always told me to keep my room clean when company comes over, I guess I never apply my room to that rule. I made my to Janet's room and opened the door to still find her reading.
"Alright, Dunk. Tell me your honest opinion about Shayla."
"She's cool. My kind of girl. I kind of expected her to be a preppy, 'oh my god, I broke my nail kind of girl.' But she's not. So, I like her." She shrugged. "Good job, Applehead. There's one good choice you've made in your life."
"Hey! I've made other good decisions too!"
"Yeah, but bagging Shayla is the best thing right now. When are you going to ask her out?"
"Not any time soon! I mean, we just met for Pete's sake!"
"So... I can't. I want to get to know her better before I ask her to be my girl."
"Aww, your girl. How sweet..." She made a kissy face. "Well, you better act fast before Randy makes her his girl before you know it."
"You can stop now."
"I'm just saying!" She laughed.
"Get back to reading. I'm going to help mom and Shayla."
"Alright. See you at the table." That little girl has a mouth on her, I tell ya. I know Shayla likes me and she knows I like her too. I'm not about to let another guy get to her.
"Michael, come taste this?" Mother called as I was making my way down the stairs. "It's spaghetti."
"With meat?" I asked.
"Heavens no! I know my baby doesn't eat meat anymore. Come and taste it. Shayla added a little bit to it."
I took a fork and tasted it, "mmm, this is good." I nodded as I got some more.
"Michael, save your appetite for later."
"What did you put in it, Shayla?"
"It's a secret from my mom's recipe."
"Will you tell me someday?"
"Oh, no!" She shook her head. I liked this view of Shayla helping my mom in the kitchen. This is perfect.