“Devon this important!” Devon circled Samantha, each arm loaded up with boxes containing paraphernalia to re-stock the shelves at his Grandpa Solomon’s eclectic book and comic store. “Devon. Did you hear me? ”
Devon allowed one box to slip to the floor then laid the others down. He began unloading them but he still had not given Samantha any eye contact, though very aware of her presence. “Sam, I hear you. Really.” A soft chuckle levitated from his gut to his lips. “You do see that I am busy here, right?” Devon emptied his other arm and stood straight, facing Samantha with a playful grin. “What’s so urgent sista?”
“It’s Mads…I mean Madeleine…I don’t know. She doesn’t seem to care for me…We were shopping…she stomped off…” Samantha rattled on, pulling from her memory rapidly while trying to paint Devon an accurate picture. Devon’s eyes darted back and forth, and up and down trying to keep track with-what he interrupted as Samantha’s gibberish-and her energetic gestures. “Whoa! Slow down already. What the heck are you talking about?”
Samantha dropped to the wooden floor of the antiquated shop and crossed her legs. Devon’s eyes dropped down with her and began to fill with concern. Soon Devon was on the floor facing Samantha and sitting crossed legged like she was. “Okay Sam. Take a good deep breath and try again.” Samantha nodded at Devon then sat as straight as a needle to suck in a long hollow breath.
Samantha released it slowly. “Okay. So I asked Madeleine to go shopping with me today. I thought it would be good for her…” Devon spitted out a raucous laugh. “Good for her, or for you Sam? You d0 have a weakness you know.” Samantha was not amused by the comment.
“Not now Devon. Seriously.” Samantha’s eyes burrowed into Devon, almost burning right through his own. His shoulders tensed then straightened. Lighthearted Samantha was clearly burdened with her message. He leaned in again and dug his elbows into his crossed thighs. “Okay Sam. I’m all ears. What happened?”
A light puff of air slowly emitted from her nose and Samantha allowed herself to smile. Just a little. “Okay. So. I really thought Madeleine needed a friend…” Devon’s eyes grew to the size of tennis balls. Well almost. Samantha couldn’t hide the giggle that launched from her body. “Don’t be like that Devon.” Samantha pressed her lips together, puckered them out, then cocked her head to one side. “You don’t get to have absolute claim on Madeleine you know. Especially when…” Samantha leaned back and contemplated her next words. Devon stared at her, anticipating the content of the thoughts churning in her head.
“Especially when what Sam? Just say it.” Devon leaned into Samantha’s personal space anxious to know her thoughts. She leaned away from him even further. “Okay. Okay. Chill a second. I’m not sure you’re ready to hear this.” Devon’s arms flew half-way into the air. “What? What does that mean? Isn’t this about Mads?”
Samantha fidgeted, adjusting her seating on the book store floor. She needed to be absolutely comfortable to deliver her next line. “Um…ahem…Devon…Devon I think you need to be very careful with Madeleine. She’s had enough happen to her. She doesn’t need you confusing her.”
Devon’s wide eyes matched his gapped mouth. “Wha…Serious…Samantha, are you for real? Confusing Mads? Me? How?” Samantha gave Devon the head tilt, puckered lips, complemented with piercing eyes this time. She looked at him. Staring. Bearing into his soul until she was satisfied that his heart was suitably prepared for her next round of candid deductions. “Devon, you’ve done a good thing. You’ve befriended someone who…who it looks like had given up on people. But you’ve got to be careful. Don’t ‘dine and dash’…”
Devon raised one hand and put his palm up near Samantha’s face. “Wait. Stop. Stop the madness. ‘dine and dash’? When have I done that?” Devon shook his head violently trying to make Samantha’s words make sense.
She reached over and gently placed her hand on Devon’s arm. “Calm down. All I’m saying is, be a friend. We’ve been just that for years. But if you’re thinking of being anything else…” Samantha paused and took in a sharp breath. “…Madeleine can’t handle anymore disappointments, at the very least. Please be careful.”
Devon sat back, firmly on his tail bone. He crossed his arms and looked down at the polished wooden floor his grandfather waxed twice a week. His eyes traced every crease and crevice. Samantha sat patiently across from her friend, allowing him to mull over her words. Eventually Devon inhaled deeply then spoke. “Thanks Sam. I hear ya. I haven’t really thought about it to be honest, but I could tell…Well, I could tell she has a story.” Samantha nodded in agreement but doesn’t interject.
Devon slapped his thigh and laughed. “I can bet on you being brutally honest with me.” His smile fell off and a pensive expression took its place. “I am certainly going to pray about all of it.”
Samantha grinned and jumped to her feet. “Good! Cause there’s a real, live, breakable heart at stake here.” Devon was right behind her and on his feet too. His lips formed a warm smile. “Got it Sam!” Samantha smiled back and turned her attention to the boxes near Devon’s feet. “Need help?” she asked. “Girl, do I? Come on.” Laughter exploded between them and they got to work.