“I can do this.”

Eric breathed hard before walking the last twenty meters toward Liza’s house. He knew she was at school but she was not her he wanted to see. His main target was also the thorn on his throat: pass him and he would not get all the snide remarks he was sure the young man could dish out if ever he succeeded in setting foot inside their house.

Damn! Bad timing! He saw Tommy standing by a tree, his knee folded with a foot pressed to the trunk, obviously listening to loud music.

Eric was not a pushover. If he had to assert his right to visit Liza without Tommy’s blessing, he would do it. However, crossing the young man at any point was self-defeating. He would not want a sore brother-in-law in the future.

What should he do?

A few feet from him, Eric watched Liza’s brother with curiosity. There had to be something they could enjoy together to create a non-confrontational relationship between them.

With closed eyes, Tommy kept nodding his head. He could not have predicted that the man he liked to pique stood near him.

“That must be good!” Eric remarked when he saw Tommy adjusted the volume of his portable music player.

“Yeah, it is!” Tommy replied automatically, even though he had not seen who spoke.

Eric walked closer and faced him, man to man.

“Liza is not here!” Tommy snarled. His handsome face frowned, making him looked ugly.

“I know,” Eric agreed, his voice more friendly. “I want to talk to you.”

“Can’t you see I am busy?”

The angry question could have finished the conversation but Eric would not leave until he could convince Tommy that he was not a bad guy, that he meant only good for his sister.

“What is it you do not like about me?”

“I don’t like any men courting my sister.”

So, it was not a personal thing, Eric concluded to which he was thankful for. It was a generalization the young man believed.

“Have you considered what your sister feels? Does she know your reasons?”

“I don’t want her hurt,” he explained. “She means a lot to me.”

A different tact, Eric, he commanded himself.

“Have you ever been in love?”

“Who needs it?” Tommy asked without thinking, his voice frigid.

“We all do. You, my sister.” Eric risked something he had no total control of. His sister was not the easiest person to deal with.

“Don’t play that trick on me! I may not be so bright but I would never fall for that.”

Eric sighed. Thank heavens! That was close! The love card was definitely a mistake.

“I am sorry. I didn’t mean it as it sounded. I was just making a point.”

He was talking to a rock, solid and immovable. His ploy had no success whatsoever. What he saw next proved to him that his love life would not start until he found a way to pass through the guard.

“Here’s a point for you!” Tommy showed him a clenched fist.

(to be continued)



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