"Can you keep a secret?" Andrea asked as she quickly glanced all around to see if there was anyone nearby.
"I really like Randy, a lot," she continued before she got a response to her question, "but I don't know what to do. What should I do? How do I approach him? I'm not even in the same class as he is, he comes from a rich family, an old money family. And I think that since we have different colored skin his family won't accept me. Oh, this is terrible! I like him so much! I want to be with him, and not just as a friend."
She was confiding in her friend, Buffy. That wasn't her real name but that's what she was called by everybody. Her real name was Bufandra, which she didn't like, so she simply used Buffy.
Andrea would watch Randy as he made his way through the halls of the university and she would daydream about him - did he notice her? what would happen if she spoke to him? what would he say? would he accept her as a friend? She had herself all tied up in knots over this desire for a man she thought was out of her league. The bigger problem was she was simply too shy to approach him directly.
"Buffy, I have to do something, right? I think tomorrow after classes I will walk right up to him and say Hi! I'm Andrea. Oh, if I do that he'll probably just give me a blank look and walk away. You know why? Because his family is rich and I'm not. His family has that old plantation estate west of town. His ancestors had slaves, many, and I know that his grandparents and his parents are still not friendly to black people. I suppose Randy is, too. But maybe he's not. Oh, what should I do, Buffy?" Buffy just looked at her, laid on the sofa and listened to all her meanderings.
The next week Andrea did as she said she would do, she walked up to Randy and said, "Hi Randy, I'm Andrea".
"Hi Andrea, nice to finally meet you," said Randy, and with a smile he took her hand and gave her a gentle handshake.
Andrea thought, 'He likes me! My color isn't a problem for him, he's different from his family. Yay!'
She said, "Oh, wow, thanks".
"Thanks for what?" asked Randy.
"Um, excuse me, I'm glad to meet you, too, Randy. You know we have one class together - statistics," said Andrea, hoping he will stay long enough for a conversation.
"Yes, I've seen you in there, you usually sit in the front row. I usually sit in the back, I'm not a big fan of that class. I think it's rather boring," said Randy, and he took Andrea's hand and lead her to a nearby bench. Andrea smiled.
"I noticed you back there and wondered why you were at the back of the room, I thought you were the type to sit in the front," she said.
"Well, in my other classes, yes, you are right about that. But that statistics prof is so boring. He doesn't even try to make it interesting. I think he's as bored with it as we students are," Randy was talking to Andrea eye to eye, not distracted by the other girls walking past, and Andrea was dancing with happiness in her heart because he seemed to be genuinely interested in her.
"I wonder, would you be interested in going with me to the coffee shop later? After classes?" asked Andrea, with hope dripping from every word and obvious in her eyes.
Randy smiled and put his hand on her knee, "Yes, I would love to meet you there. How about 3:45, okay? I've two more classes today."
"Okay, three forty-five it is. I have another class, also, so I should get going, it starts in 10 minutes," Andrea was all smiles now.
"Cool, see you later," and Randy stood up, offered his hand to her and when he had her hand in his she was sure that his hold lingered a little longer than would be typical, and she smiled, and walked away.
The rest of the morning and early afternoon passed quickly for both Randy and Andrea as they both could hardly concentrate on their classes, what with their minds occupied with thoughts of the other.
And finally the time arrived. Andrea arrived early at the coffee shop, and found Randy had arrived even earlier. She smiled and walked towards his table. He stood, held out his hand, took hers and held it gently, and this time, gave Andrea a kiss on her cheek.
"Oh, excuse me, was I too forward?" asked Randy, trying to be as polite as he could.
"Of course not, don't be silly, I like that you did that," Andrea smiled, still holding his hand. They both sat down at the table, not across from each other, but almost next to each other.
They spent over an hour talking while drinking coffee and sharing some pastries. Finally Randy said, "I have to be going, Andrea, I wish I didn't though. My little sister is having a birthday party today".
"Okay, that's fine, see you tomorrow," Andrea said as she stood up, this time she offered her hand to Randy and he immediately took it and held onto her hand as they walked out of the coffee shop and to her car. Andrea smiled all the way. And she continued to smile all the way home.
"Buffy! You won't believe what happened today! I talked to Randy! Yes, I did! Finally, and it went really well, we talked for a while, and he touched me on my knee, he held my hand, he smiled and spoke to me eye to eye and wasn't distracted. He was definitely interested in me! I can't believe it, Buffy, it was the best day I've had in so long!" Buffy listened to every word, looked at her, and rested her head on Andrea's lap, and went to sleep.
Andrea and Randy met at the coffee shop the next day, and the next weekend, and many more times.
After about 3 weeks Randy said, "Andrea, I really like you, a lot, and I can see you feel the same about me, yes?" She smiled and nodded in agreement with her bangs swinging over her eyes. "I would like to know, do you want to take our relationship to a higher level? I mean seriously, not just for sex."
"Seriously? You mean, like boyfriend-girlfriend relationship?" she asked just to get him to give her a confirmation.
"Of course, I mean, we already are, kind of, right? I also want to take you home and introduce you to my family. They will be excited to meet you, I'm sure," and Randy noticed a somewhat surprised look on her face. "Are you okay with that?"
"Yes, certainly, I'm okay with meeting your family. I'd love to," Andrea leaned towards him and they kissed. It wasn't just a little peck, or even just a smootch, but a long kiss that eventually got the attention of some other people in the coffee shop.
"Okay, guys, enough of that in here," the cashier said, and the other people in the shop laughed at the two young lovers. They got up and left the shop and went for a walk.
Andrea had a wonderful time meeting Randy's family, and they accepted her with open arms. It wasn't at all like she imagined. With all the history of the family being about slave owners on a plantation she wasn't expecting such acceptance. But she learned they only bought the old plantation, their family was actually from Rhode Island. It was still an old-money family, but not a family history marked by slavers.
After dinner Randy drove Andrea home and she introduced him to Buffy, who just looked at him with a blank look then turned and walked to the couch, curled up and went to sleep.
"Is she always like that?" Randy asked.
"Oh, yeah, she's very quiet. And she's my best friend in the world," said Andrea, smiling at Buffy.
"I'm glad for you, I'm happy you are in my life, and I'm happy that my family has accepted you as one of our own," Randy said, looking her eye-to-eye, holding both her hands. "I have a question for you, before I go home".
Her heart was pounding from the excitement she was feeling by his words and the wonderful day she had with his family, and now the anticapation of what he was about to ask. "Okay, ask me anything, you know you can".
"I love you, as you know, and I don't want to ever lose you. I want you to be by my side for the rest of our lives, never behind me, but always at my side, our hands firmly tied together, walking through live hand in hand." She breathed deep, knowing what he was about to ask. "Andrea, will you share your life with me and let me share my life with you? Andrea, darling, will you marry me?"
"Yes, oh, yes! I will!" and she wrapped her arms around him, he smothered her in kisses, and Buffy walked over to them and started to rub her soft white fur against their entwined hands, purring gently, and they embraced and kissed.