Sample of Believing in a Sinner's Worth


Copyright © 2018 Wayne Colley

All rights reserved. No part of the work may be reproduced without the expression written permission of the author. This book is a work of fiction. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. All characters, events, and incidents in this book are a product of the author's imagination.




Lying in bed in her pajamas, in the darkened bedroom that she shared with her baby brother, three-year-old, Dana, looked up at the ceiling and frowned. Her mommy and daddy were hollering at each other again. Holding her teddy bear tight to her chest, she began whispering the prayer that her grandmother, Delores, had taught her to say anytime she felt scared or afraid. And she was definitely scared right now. She couldn’t remember all the words, but she said the prayer the best she could.

The second she whispered “Amen”, Dana’s mama began screaming, causing the little girl to begin trembling in fear. Her trembles turned into the shakes as she heard footsteps running towards her bedroom.

Her daddy pushed her door open so hard that it slammed against the wall. Then he started shouting real loud. Three-year-old, Dana, couldn’t tell if he was mad at her, or at her mommy, but one thing she knew is that she had never been so scared. She was so afraid that she lost control of her bladder and accidentally peed on herself, but she barely noticed the wetness.

She squinted her eyes when her daddy reached on the wall and turned the light on, forcing brightness to flood her bedroom. Then she began crying when her father picked her up out of her bed and began squeezing her around her belly area real tight.

Nineteen-year old, Janelle, ran into her kids’ bedroom. Running was hard for her because her stomach was aching from the sucker punch that her husband, Eddie, had just given her as he’d assaulted her out in the living room only seconds earlier. With her eyes looking wild and full of fear, she began violently shaking her head. “Don’t hurt my babies, Eddie...please don’t hurt our kids!”

With a crazed, hateful look in his eyes, Eddie placed his hand around his toddler’s throat and began to squeeze. “You think your ass gonna leave me, Janelle?! You gonna take my babies and go back home to live with yo’ mama?!” He shook his head. “Hell, nah! That shit ain’t happening! Like I been telling you all along...I’ll kill all y’all first, before I let you leave me! Starting with this one right here!”

Little Dana didn’t understand why her daddy was hurting her. She was confused by it all. She suddenly heard a loud pop sound and the pain that her daddy was inflicting on her stopped. He dropped her onto her bed, then he crumpled to the floor grabbing his chest. Crying, Dana was puzzled by the red stuff that she saw beginning to seep between her daddy’s fingers, staining his white t-shirt.

Three year old Dana didn’t know that the events of that night would change her life forever. But they did. Her father died from the thirty-five millimeter slug that her mother had lodged into his chest in her attempts to protect her kids that night. As for her mother, she was sentenced to a mandatory twenty years in prison for the crime.



Twenty-One Years Later: 

Dana opened her car her door and stepped out of her vehicle. She squinted her eyes and fanned her face as the afternoon Atlanta summer sun hit her full force. With her heavy purse slung over her shoulder, she walked into Grover’s Groceries and More. She'd already had a long day at work, so she really didn't want to go grocery shopping, but her three-year-old daughter was home hungry.

Her daughter, Kiara, wasn’t home alone — she was under the watchful eye of Dana’s grandmother, Delores. However, Delores had already told Dana that she wasn't going to feed Kiara dinner that evening — she’d told Dana that earlier that morning, before Dana had left for work. That meant the job fell on Dana's shoulders.

Part of Dana wanted to be mad at her grandmother for not wanting to fix dinner for her daughter. But she quickly squashed those feelings because she knew that her grandmother loved both her and her child.

Grandma's probably just trying to teach me a lesson about responsibility, Dana thought to herself, then smiled.

She really couldn't blame her grandmother for doing that. Dana was twenty-four years old and she'd had her daughter at twenty-one. Most people would've thought that having a baby would've made her grow up, but it hadn't been until recently that Dana had started to get some real maturity about herself.

At the end of the day, Dana appreciated her grandmother for being the no-nonsense type of person, the no mess taking type of person that she was. She began nodding her head as she walked across the parking lot, just from thinking about it. My grandma raised me as her own cause my mama was in prison and she’s been a good role model. Those are parent goals right butt should be striving to be more like her.

She stepped into the grocery store and started selecting items from off of the shelf. She wasn't bringing in that much money, so it's not like she could fill up her shopping basket. She had put herself on a budget, and fortunately for her, she hadn't busted her budget that particular day. Her cart was only a quarter of the way full by the time she made it to the checkout counter.

Hey Dana, I thought that was you who came into the store when I looked up from the register twenty minutes ago.” That had been Dana’s friend, Keisha, who’d said that.

Dana nodded at her girl and smiled. “Yep. It's me in the flesh. The one and only. I’m in here getting some groceries for me and Kiara. How you been doing, Keisha? Long time no see.”

Keisha began ringing up Dana's groceries. “I've been doing okay,” she said. “I ain’t gonna complain. I don't make but so much working here as a cashier, but it pays the bills and God's keeping me.”

Dana already knew what was getting ready to come next. Her friend, Keisha, was a born again Christian, so whenever she saw a person, she'd begin to talk about God and eventually end up inviting them over to her church. Yep. Just like Dana had thought, Keisha went right ahead and invited her to Sunday services at Love and Faith Christian Center. With thoughts of the church’s television commercial on her mind, Dana snickered to herself and mimicked the TV commercial’s speaker’s voice in her head: It’s the place where God reigns supreme.

Dana didn't knock other people if serving the Lord is what they wanted to do. However, there had been some things that had happened to Dana in her life that kept her out of the church. Some hurtful things. Part of her was ashamed to admit it, but she often thought to herself: God wasn't there when I needed him so many times in the past, so why should I be in his house of worship now?

Despite the foul thoughts that she was having in reference to God, Dana flashed her friend a smile. “Thanks for the invite, Keisha. But I think I'm gonna have to turn you down this time. Okay?”

Keisha's eyes met Dana's. “Are you sure about that? God just put it on my spirit that he has a powerful message for you if you show up on Sunday. Something good’s gonna happen. You don’t wanna miss your blessing.”

That’s what all the holy-rollers say. Dana shrugged her shoulders. “The way I see it, Keisha, if God really has a powerful message for you say he does...he’d show it to me right now. He’d show it to me in my house. He’d show it to me while I'm driving home with these groceries that I'm about to spend almost half my paycheck for the week on. Know what I mean, boo?”

She just doesn't understand the nature of God, Keisha thought to herself. Lord, please touch my friend’s heart and bring her closer to you. I know what you told me. You said you have a special work that you would like to do through her. You said you have a special anointing that you would like to put over her life...I dreamed about that last night. But you and I both know that neither one of us can't force people to accept you into their hearts. In the end, the choice is up to them.

Keisha gave Dana a smile. She nodded her head. “Alright, Dana. I hear you. I see where you’re coming from... I think I know what you’re talking about. Tomorrow… Saturday… me and my mama are throwing a cookout for my cousin, Jerome, who just got back into town from Afghanistan — you know he's been in the military and all. How about you come over?” She winked her eye. “I'm sure you’ll appreciate a free plate of food. You can bring Kiara with you, too...that is if you want to. It’s gonna be fun. I promise. My uncle, John, he’s gonna be deejaying, and you know how he loves playing that old-school R&B music that you like. It's not gonna be any drinking or smoking or anything like that going down, so everybody's gonna have a real good, clean time. And like I said, it's free food. Me and you haven’t been able to hang in a long, long time. Come on over. Okay?”

Dana actually thought that that was a good idea. She was sure that Keisha's two sisters were going to be there, too. Dana, Keisha and Keisha's sisters had all hung out together back in high school. She wouldn't mind hanging out with them once again to reminisce over the good old days.

Dana finally nodded her head. She smiled. “Okay. I'm all for showing up, honey. Thanks for the invite.”

The look on Keisha's face brightened. “Good. The party starts at noon. Be there with your dancing shoes on.”


With that being said, Dana began pushing her shopping cart out to her ancient Toyota Camry. She popped the trunk and began putting her groceries into the back. She was only halfway done when she heard a voice behind her.

Hey, Ma. Need some help putting your groceries in your car?”

Dana knew who was talking to her before she even turned around. She shook her head at Juan and said, “Nope. I'm good. I got this right here.”

Juan sucked his teeth. “Why you always trying to shut a brotha down, Dana?”

Dana sighed. She'd been having this same conversation with Juan ever since high school. “Juan, like I told you when I saw you over at Walmart two weeks ago...I'm not interested in a relationship with anybody right now. I'm just working on myself. Working on myself and raising my daughter.”

But I'm sure a dime like yourself has needs.” He dropped his eye gaze down to her crotch and grinned. “And I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. I can help you out with that.”

Dana didn't feel like going there with Juan. She'd been working on self-improvement lately. The old Dana would've treated him to her sharp tongue. The new and improved version of herself simply shook her head and said, “I'm pretty good at taking care of all my needs, Juan. But if you wanna be helpful, you can push my basket back to the cart return area.” She gave her shopping cart a push towards him. She chuckled. “Here you go... Thanks.”

She didn't look back to see Juan’s reaction to what she'd asked him to do. She got into her car and cranked her engine and drove away. She grimaced. I’m glad the car started this time.

Men like Juan came a dime a dozen in Dana's neighborhood — borderline lowlifes who really weren’t doing anything with their lives. From what Dana had last heard about Juan's situation, he was still living at home in his mama's basement and hustling odd jobs on the streets. He doesn't have any goals for himself — I can tell from the empty look in his eyes. If I ever start dating againand I don’t know if and when I willany man that I let into my zone has to have goals. He doesn't have to be rich or pulling in big bank right now, but he has to be trying to make something of himself.

She was still thinking about the characteristics of the perfect man when she arrived home. Some people would've said that she couldn't talk about Juan because she herself was living with her grandmother. But not for long, she said in her head. I've been squirreling away money for the last nine months. By next month, I should be ready to move out on my own. She smiled. I’ll be an independent Black woman with a capital I.

Dana, is that you coming through that door?”

Using her foot, Dana kicked the front door closed behind her. “You know it's me, grandma. Don't nobody live here but me, you, and Kiara.”

Delores Jackson walked into her living room and shook her head at her granddaughter, who she’d pretty much raised as her own child. “How was I supposed to have known it was you for sure? It could've been somebody breaking in the house or something…” She frowned. “You know how these fools ‘round here are. Heathens and criminals.”

Dana was on her way to the kitchen, so her back was turned to her grandmother. She smiled and rolled her eyes — she of course wouldn’t have let her grandmother see her eye-rolling action. She had too much respect for her grandmother for that. Out loud she said, “You're a mess, Grandma. You know danggone well it was me. My car’s a clunker. Don't nobody else's muffler sound quite like mine. You probably heard me coming a quarter-mile away.”

Delores refused to let it go. “Yeah, I heard your car, Dana. But there was no way to guarantee that it was you coming through the front door. And that's all there is to it. You coulda been anybody. Now did you bring Kiara's Pull-ups with you? You know she's almost out. I got plastic down on her bed, but I still don't want her wetting it. This house of ours gonna be smelling something funky if pee gets on her mattress another time. I had a devil of a time cleaning it last month when she had a little accident.”

Don’t worry. I got the Pull-ups, grandma,” Dana responded. Then she moved on to another subject. “Keisha invited me to a cookout tomorrow. Do you think you can watch Kiara for a couple of hours for me? It’s in the afternoon.”

Delores shook her head. “Nope. I already made plans to go out of town with Andrew for the day. I love my great-grandbaby to life, but taking care of her all day tomorrow is gonna be on you, Dana. Sorry.”

Dana wasn't looking forward to taking her three-year-old daughter along with her to the cookout, but she understood that her child's care was ultimately up to her. She couldn't be mad at her grandmother because she was trying to have a life outside of taking care of her great-grandchild. I’m just thankful that she’s been willing to help me out all these years.

Plus, Keisha is a holy-roly...and so is her mama and half the people in her family. I'm sure there ain't gonna be nothing shady or suspect going on at that cookout that I wouldn't want my three-year-old exposed to. Everything should be just fine.

Dana heard her grandmother follow her into the kitchen. She placed her grocery bags on the counter and said, “I'll make sure I bring you a plate back from the cookout, okay? I hope you have fun with Mr. Andrew. Me and Kiara will be just fine tomorrow. Besides, the two of us are gonna have to get used to being just fine alone anyway. You know I still intend on moving out in a couple of months.”

Delores leaned back against the kitchen counter. She smiled. “I'm gonna miss both of you something terrible, but I'm proud of you for putting on your big girl panties and claiming your life, Dana… I’m real proud.”

Thank you, grandma.” Dana walked over and gave her grandmother a hug. “I'm gonna miss you, too. But you know we’re only gonna be living a few streets over. Forest Oaks Apartments are only a minute-and-a-half car drive from here. That’s nothing at all.”

Delores chuckled. “Yeah, that's another one of the good things about it. You’ll have your freedom and your own space, but you won't be too far away.”

Dana pulled back from the hug that she'd just given her grandmother and nodded her head. “Yep. That sho’ nuff is the truth. I love you like nobody’s business, but it’s time for me to get out there and experience that big, wide world on my own for a little bit. Something tells me it’s gonna feel funny at first. But I’mma get used to it.”

Yep. You’re gonna get used to it, Dana, and everything will be just fine. Now I think I’m gonna go get my outfit laid out for my daytrip tomorrow.”

Dana grinned. “Wear those Jordache Jeans that have the fancy silver rivets down the side seams, grandma. You always look cute in those. And throw on that turquoise blouse with the ruffles. Pull the look all together with that silver hoop and necklace gift set I gave you last Christmas…” She winked her eye. “I’m sure you’re gonna wow Mr. Andrew in that. He’s not gonna be able to keep his eyes off of you. You gonna have to beat him off with a stick.”

Delores was fifty-four years old, but she wasn’t too old to blush.

Dana chuckled in response. “Don’t be ashamed, grandma. I like Mr. Andrew and I’m glad you got yourself a decent beau. I’d love to see you happy. Who knows, once Kiara and I move up out of here, maybe Mr. Andrew will go ahead and pop the question and move in here to take our places,” Dana teased.

Dana had mentioned Mr. Andrew popping the question because she knew that as a born-again-Christian — one who took her religion seriously — there wasn’t gonna be any other way that her grandma was letting a man who wasn’t her relative come live in her house. There ain’t gonna be no shacking up around here.

Delores shook her head, but smiled. “Very funny, li’l girl. You’s a mess, Dana Angelique Bryce. I’m going to my room now. Have fun at the cookout tomorrow.”



Lord have that really you, Dana Bryce?”

Dana gave Keisha’s grandmother, Mrs. Ophelia Turner, a hug. “Yep, it’s me, Mrs. T. How you been doing?”

I been doing fine, baby. The Lord’s been keeping me. I haven’t seen you in ages and the baby done grown up so big and pretty.” Mrs. Turner grinned at Kiara and pinched her cheek. “She looks just like you, too. Your spitting image.”

Yeah, that’s what I get from everybody.”

And what did you say her name is again? I got so many grandbabies and grand nieces and nephews that it’s hard for an old lady like myself to remember everybody. Some days I even forget to put my teeth in and put my wig on. I walked out to the mailbox yesterday without even wearing my brassiere. I kept wondering why the mailman kept looking at me funny. I passed by the mirror when I came back in the house and figured out why.”

Dana knew how fly Mrs. Turner liked looking, so she held back a smile from imagining the eighty-something going in public without her wig or her teeth. Then she said, “Her name’s Kiara.”

Kiara. That’s right.”

Grinning, Mrs. Turner lowered herself back into the rocking chair she’d been sitting in when Dana had first approached the house that afternoon. Then she said, “Gone on ‘round into the backyard, baby. I’m out here on the porch in my rocking chair cause I need a little bit of fresh air...and some peace and quiet. Lisa done fenced off a play area back there for the little kids — she owns a daycare center you know and she just can’t seem to figure out how to stop doing her job.” The elderly woman chuckled. “You gonna have safe child care for little Kiara while you here today.”

Dana nodded. “Alright. That’s good to hear, and it sure was good seeing you again, Mrs. T.”

Dana hadn’t been to the Turner’s home in a minute, but hadn’t much changed. She followed the sporadically placed brick pavers to the back of the house. Right before she made it to the fence of the gate that would lead her into the backyard, her foot caught on one of the cracked stepping stones on the ground and she almost fell. The only thing that prevented a tumble was a pair of large, strong hands that seemed to come out of nowhere. They caught her.

Whoa, sista. You okay?”

Dana regained her footing and pulled out of the man's light grasp. She turned around and faced one of the most handsome brothas she’d seen in a long time. She gave him a smile. And ironically, her daughter, Kiara, did too.

Yeah, yeah...I’m okay. Thank you,” Dana said, slightly embarrassed.

He made eye contact with Dana and he grinned, too. He nodded his head. “Yeah, you're welcome.” Then he surprised her by sticking out his hand and shaking hers. “I'm Jerome by the way.”

Dana had never met her girl Keisha's cousin Jerome before. But she remembered Keisha telling her yesterday that the party was being held in his honor. She nodded her head and said, “They're throwing the party for you. Right? You just got back here in the states from Afghanistan. Welcome home. And my name’s Dana, by the way. And this little girl right here on my hip is my daughter, Kiara.”

Jerome looked at Kiara and smiled. “Your baby’s a little cutie pie. It's nice to meet both of y’all, Dana and Kiara.”

He'd just met her, but there was something about Dana that Jerome liked. She was one of the prettiest girls that he'd run into in a long time. But that's not what was seeming to attract him to her. She had this certain type of glow about herself. There was something about her aura. The aura thing kind of surprised him because he'd never been considered to be the deep type of brotha or anything...not by a long shot.

Dana suddenly felt a little awkward, a little shy. She smiled and said, “Okay, Jerome. The party’s for you, why aren't you in there with everybody else celebrating?”

He chuckled. “I guess because of fate. I guess it was God sending me out here to save you and that pretty little baby of yours from falling on these stones and getting hurt.”

Oh, hell...he’s one of those types. The religious type. One of the ‘look-what-God’s-done-for-me’ folks.

Dana doubted that it was God who’d sent Jerome out there to save her — she didn’t believe that anybody at all had sent him — but she went along with what he was saying and smiled anyway. “Alright,” she said. “Once again, thanks for looking out. Now I think I'm gonna go ahead and make my way inside where the fun is on and popping. Your aunt, Lisa, can really throw down where cooking is concerned. She got this whole neighborhood smelling good and I don't wanna miss out on getting myself a plate. Know what I mean?”

Jerome opened the gate for Dana. “Yep. I understand you, Dana. I guess I'm going back inside, too.” He smiled. “Welcome to the party.”

The party ended up being decent. Over all, Dana had a really good time with her old friends and their extended family members. She had kept glancing over at Jerome off and on because there was something about him that she really liked. But she wasn't going overboard crazy or anything because of him. It's not like she was looking for a relationship or a new friend.

Jerome was across the yard by the barbecue grill when Keisha leaned towards Dana’s ear and said, “Well, Dana, what do you think about my cousin, Jerome?”

Dana glanced over at Jerome a few seconds and then back at Keisha. “He a’ight, boo. He’s seems like a decent person. I remember you mentioning him a couple of times when we were in high school, but I never met him before now.”

Keisha nodded her head. “Yeah. He’s about seven years older than us. He graduated before we did and went off to the military.” She winked her eye. “He’s single, you know?”

That’s nice for him I reckon. Ain’t nothing wrong with being single.” She frowned. “After all the mess I been through dealing with the opposite sex, I’m trying to keep it that way. It’s gonna be just me and Kiara for a long, long time.” Her eyes met Keisha’s. “What about you? You found you anybody interesting lately?”

About four hours later, when the party began wrapping up, Dana decided that she was going to leave. She was surprised that Jerome walked up behind her as she was making her way to the gate and said, “Hey, let me walk you out to your car.” She didn't have anything against him, so she shrugged her shoulders and told him, “Okay, I guess.”

She sat behind the wheel of her old hoopty and flashed him a smile. “It was nice meeting you, Jerome. Thanks for walking me out to my car...that was nice of you. If I don't see you again before you leave town, I hope you stay safe wherever you’re stationed at next. Alright?”

Oh, I'm not gonna be stationed anywhere next. I've decided to quit the military...I’ve retired. I'm gonna be a civilian. I'm gonna settle down right here in Atlanta…” He grinned. “Meaning, I'm coming back home.”

Dana felt a tiny spark of excitement from hearing him say that he was going to be sticking around. But she quickly squashed that because she really wasn’t in the market for a man, she wasn’t interested in a relationship.

She gave him a tiny smile. “Oh. I'm sure you're happy about that. Right?” She didn't wait for him to respond, she kept right on speaking. “In that case, I guess maybe I'll see you around. Have a good one.” With that being said, she drove off.

As Jerome watched Dana's car disappear down the street, he had a tiny smile on his face. He liked Dana. There was something about her that kept drawing him to her the entire afternoon and evening. He decided right then and there that he was going to ask his cousin what the situation was with her. She had piqued his interest...big time.




Inside at the Party a few Minutes Later:


Dana?” Keisha asked her cousin, Jerome. “You wanna know what's up with her? You interested in her or something, cuz?”

Jerome shrugged his shoulders, then he smiled. “Might be. She’s cute… Scratch that, she’s way past cute. Baby girl fine. And she has a good personality to match. I admire that in a woman.”

Keisha shook her head. “I'm sorry to tell you, Jerome. But I don't think Dana’s in the market for a man. In fact, when we were out here talking earlier today, she pretty much told me that. Her whole focus of her life right now is her career and her daughter. Sorry, boo.”

Jerome scrunched his eyebrows together. “Focusing on her career and her daughter you said? So she's single then. She doesn’t have a significant other.”

Yeah. She's single alright. But like I just told you, she ain't interested in dating nobody.”

She was low key interested in me, Keisha. She was trying to hide it, but I could tell. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but your boy done developed some excellent perception skills over the years. I could tell that she likes me.”

Keisha frowned at her cousin. Then she blew out a breath in a sigh. “I don't like putting nobody’s personal business all out there like that, but I guess I'll go ahead and break it down for you, cuz, since it seems like you’re not gonna be willing to let it go... Dana got her heart broken real bad by her last boyfriend — her baby’s daddy. And all of the other men she’s dated outside of him. I think she’s fed up with all the ish that some of you brothas be dishing out. The cheating, the lying, the male chauvinistic attitudes...all of it. I think it’s gonna be a long time before she's ready to get into another relationship with anybody.” She smiled at her cousin. “Even somebody as fine and decent as you. You feel me now? You understand where I’m coming from?”

He nodded his head. “Yeah. I see where you're coming from, Keisha. But can I get her digits though?”

Keisha couldn’t help but smile. “I guess my girl really made an impression on you, huh?” She shook her head. “But I'm sorry. I can't just hand her phone number out to you like that. If the tables were reversed, and I was feeling the way that she's feeling, I wouldn't want a friend doing something similar to my phone number out to a man without my permission.”

Jerome understood that he wasn't going to get anywhere with Keisha. He admired his cousin for having a desire to do the right thing. He respected her for that. However, there was something about Dana that had touched his spirit that day, so he couldn't just give up on trying to investigate what she was all about. He couldn't give up on trying to meet her again.

He flashed Keisha a smile. “I understand, cuz.”

Yes, he'd told Keisha that he understood. But that didn't stop him from making his way across the backyard to strike up a conversation with his other cousin, Charmaine. Charmaine was known to have a big mouth. He was pretty much sure that he could get the info that he needed out of her. Sure enough, ten minutes later, he had Dana's phone number saved on the contacts list in his phone. He now had a bright smile on his face. For once, he was happy that his cousin had loose lips.

Lord forgive me for taking sneaky measures like that, but something about Dana Bryce piqued my interest. I haven’t had that happen to me in a long time.

Earth to Jerome. Earth to Jerome. You alright, cuz? I was just asking you if you wanted to head out to the club with me and Donnell tonight and it seemed like you didn’t hear a word of what I just said. Like you didn’t hear my question at all.”

Oh, I’m good, Charmaine. Thanks for the invite, but I don’t go out clubbing like that anymore.”

Charmaine shook her head and laughed. “Oh yeah… I forgot. You repping for Team Jesus now.” She sighed. “Used to be everybody in our family was up to having a good time. Now over half of y’all saved or something.” She frowned. “Pretty soon, I ain’t gonna have any family left to run the streets with.”

Keisha walked over and joined the conversation. She gave Charmaine a hug and said, “I been praying for you, boo. Some time soon, you gonna be out them clubs and in the church with me...with the rest of us.”

Charmaine sucked her teeth. “Yeah...that’ll be the day. I don’t think Jesus can handle all of this right here up in his house.” She proceeded to strike a dance pose and twerk while beginning to hum Jesus on the Mainline, causing Keisha to shake her head and say, “Girl, you need to stop playing with the Lord like that.”

Jerome knew that Keisha took her salvation seriously and was about to start sharing the good word of the Gospel with Charmaine — but in a civil type of way. So he went ahead grabbed the opportunity to make his exit from the celebration that his family was nicely hosting in his honor. As he drove home, he had a smile on his face. He had Dana’s number, now all he had to do was figure out what was the best time to call.