Adjo was ready to graduate from high school, and he barely had any romantic history. There’d been a brief thing with Kalylynn Langerak, and this flirtation with Darlene Bunch that never got past naughty glances in English class.
His heart just wasn’t it. Who wanted to be second fiddle to Shanni all the time? He wanted one great love. He wanted it to be the real thing. And he’d always known who he wanted that person to be.
He called Toya Ursine and invited her over.
He poured his soul out to her. “Everything I’ve done, everyone I’ve met, I’ve always known I wanted to be doing it with you.”
Toya was visibly moved, but she shook herself free of the spell.
“You’re a great boy, really,” she said. “But I think you might have the wrong idea about me. You know, my dad really isn’t a very nice person….”
That was the Understatement that Ate Cleveland. Rachel Ursine’s second husband Harvey was the lord of the Sunset Valley underworld. In a town not very well known for it’s gangs, he was the ganglord.
“He didn’t do anything to you?” Adjo demanded, breathless.
“Oh, no!” Toya cried. “Nothing like that. It’s just, well, I don’t want you to get mixed up in anything.”
“I know who I want to be with,” Adjo said boldly. “Nothing about your family is going to change that. No risk is going to scare me off. I love whom I love.”
“You… love me?” Toya gasped.
“I always have,” Adjo confessed.
This time, she wasn’t so quick to push him away.
“Oh, what the hell,” she murmured, almost to herself. “You only live once.”
(Adjo never did stop collecting romantic wishes about Toya. All I needed was to be a bit more persistent the first time, but this makes for more fun story anyway :). )