tagInterracial LoveFamily Secrets

Family Secrets

bybrethard©

Denzel Mitchell was worried. It had been a few days since Patricia Kennedy, the mother of his girlfriend Melissa Kennedy, flew back to Rockhampton after a week staying with them in New York. Denzel thought that Patricia had spent the entire week judging him, constantly asking about his career, his family, his finances. He wasn't sure if he wanted to go on with Melissa if her mother was like this.

Denzel and Melissa hadn't talked much since Patricia left. They ate breakfast in silence and muttered "Good night" before going to bed, but other than that they barely talked. Denzel was convinced that Patricia had convinced Melissa to break up with him, that she would not tolerate her daughter continuing this relationship.

He caught Patricia one time looking through his personal effects. Why? She mentioned something about liking his clothes, an obvious lie. What was her problem?

She seemed surprised that he didn't watch sports. "Are you not a guy?" she asked, laughing. It was an offensive question, but he didn't know how to respond.

The more he thought about her behavior, the more upset he became. Why didn't she stay in a hotel if she didn't like him? Patricia had money-Melissa had noted told that her family had done well in the mining industry back home. Had her mother done an inventory of the things she didn't like about him?

Saturday morning, Denzel woke up to find Melissa crying in front of her iPad.

"What's wrong?"

"It's a note from my mum."

Oh God, Denzel thought. It's over.

Denzel looked at Melissa-her glowing lily-white skin, her green eyes, her long orange-red hair, her perfectly sculpted nose-and realized just how much he'd miss her if they broke up, and how upset he'd be at her mother for coming between them.

"What did she say?"

Melissa glanced down through her tears at Denzel's chocolate skin, his athletic body, his brown eyes, his curly black hair, his cute goatee. She wiped the tears from her eyes and drew a deep breath.

"She says you're great. She likes you and has no problem with you."

"Oh, bullshit. The way she was acting..."

"She says she doesn't have a problem with you being black. She said she didn't know I liked black men, and knows that if we ever got married, some of her friends might have a problem with it, but that she doesn't care, and would welcome you into our family."

"Really?"

"Yeah. And then she said, 'Remember, Martin was a white guy, and..." Melissa began to cry again.

"Baby, what's wrong?" Denzel said, sitting up and embracing Melissa.

Melissa sighed. "I told you before about Robyn, right?"

"Yeah. You told me she died."

"I didn't tell you how."

"Oh, no."

"She had a boyfriend. His name was Martin. He was a personal trainer-he was big into sports, and worked with a lot of the footy players back home. They met at a club and she liked him a lot. He seemed to like her too. So they moved in together."

She sighed again.

"One day, she went into his cabinet drawer to find some matches, and found some strange pills. She asked him about what the pills were, and he yelled at her and hit her."

"Oh my God."

"I saw her two days later, and when I asked her about her face, she said she fell...but then she told me the truth."

"No."

"Soon, we stopped seeing her altogether. Friends of ours would see her on the street, and she would be really thin and would always have big black glasses on. He must have been hitting her regularly by this point. We tried to get her to leave him, but she wouldn't..."

She began to cry again. Denzel held her for five minutes until she could talk again.

"One day...about five years ago...we got a call that she was in the hospital. He had beaten her so badly her entire face was black. The doctor told us she might not last the night. We went to her bed and..."

Melissa cried and shook. Denzel held her quietly. He knew now why she had never told him how her sister died.

Melissa drew a deep breath again. "He pleaded guilty. Thank God. He's in prison now. He..."

Then, Melissa paused, opened the Photos icon on her iPad, and showed Denzel a photo of Robyn. She was so beautiful; Robyn and Melissa, who was born just a year before her, could have been twins. "This was from 2008, right before she met Martin..."

"Oh my God..."

"You understand now why Mum was checking you out, making sure you're OK. She always tells me she only has one daughter left, and she doesn't want to lose her too."

"I see. I understand."

Melissa leaned over to kiss Denzel. "I love you. I'm sorry I couldn't tell you this before...I didn't know how..."

"I understand. I love you. I'll never hurt you."

"I know."

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