Sample of God Made Me For You


Copyright © 2016 Nikki Smith

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.



Chapter One


Veronica looked at the paper in her hand. For once she wished she wasn't the type of person who waited until the following day to actually open her mail.

Frowning, she shook her head. The letter was from the Durham County Department of Social Services, and it said they were terminating her public assistance benefits.

"They have it all wrong. I filled out my papers the right way. They were only supposed to reduce the amount I was receiving, not cut everything all the way off. Somebody made a mistake down there, and I need to get in contact with that somebody right now and have a little talk with them about it.”

Maybe a phone call will take care of the problem, she suddenly thought to herself. But she highly doubted it. She knew that most business she’d ever had to take care of that dealt with Social Services generally required an office visit to get it handled properly.

After being placed on hold for fifteen minutes, before finally being transferred to her social worker’s voicemail, she sighed.

I know what leaving a voicemail is all about, she thought to herself. It’ll be at least two days before anyone calls me back. I'm gonna have to get myself downtown right now and handle this. Today is Friday and we have a three-day weekend this week. If I don't go now, no telling when I'll be able to get my benefits reinstated. And I can’t be having my babies going hungry.

Veronica hated that she even had to be on social service benefits, but being a single mother to three kids under the age of six — a mother without a college degree — she really had no other choice.

That’s why I’m in college right now, she thought to herself as she grabbed her purse and stuffed her letter into it. As soon as I graduate and get myself gainfully employedand I’m not talking about a job like that part-time desk assistant work I’m doingI won’t need public assistance anymore. I’ll be a sho’ nuff strong Black woman...taking care of me and mine, standing on my own two feet.

She had a smile on her face as she thought about all of that. She of course understood that it had been nothing but the grace of the Lord that had gotten her on the upward-bound path that her life was currently on. Before accepting the Lord into her heart, her and her kids had been on a road headed straight for destruction. But now I have a chance to actually make something of myself.


* * *


An Hour and A Half Later:


Veronica looked at her social worker, Mrs. Harrison, in disbelief. "I'm telling you the truth, Mrs. Harrison. I didn't say on my update sheet that my income was twelve thousand dollars per month. I distinctively remember shading in the box that said per year...not the one that said per month. I marked down that I make about twelve thousand dollars a year from my part-time job right now."
Mrs. Harrison shook her head. "There's nothing I can do about it besides have you fill out another application and start the process all over again. Once you re-apply, you should be getting an update in the mail on the status of your application in about six weeks."

Veronica had to fight hard to keep her voice from rising and to stop herself from going ballistic. She took a deep breath to calm herself. Lord, Jesus, she thought to herself, you're gonna have to help me keep my cool on this one.

Veronica forced herself to plant a tight little smile on her face. "I can't go six weeks or more without my benefits, Mrs. Harrison. My kids can't go six weeks or more without benefits. They have to eat. I have to keep a roof above their heads. There's gotta be something you can do."

A steely look came into Mrs. Harrison's eyes. She'd been Veronica's social worker for close to five years. It hadn't been very pleasant working with Veronica during that time-frame at all. She's about to go off like she does every other time she's been down here because something didn’t go her way. Except for that last time...she acted civil then. I refuse to deal with any mess today. I’m not dealing with no hood-rat drama.

"That's all I have to tell you, Ms. Wright."
Refusing to give up and a little in desperation, Veronica reached out her hand to cover Mrs. Harrison's. "It wasn't
my mistake, Mrs. Harrison. There's gotta be something you can do."

Mrs. Harrison looked down at Veronica's hand on hers and frowned. Then she quickly pulled her hand out from underneath Veronica's and looked her in the eye. "There's nothing I can do.”

There’s no way I’m giving up on’s too important to me and my girls. Veronica took a deep breath. "I need to talk to the director then."
Mrs. Harrison gave Veronica a condescending look. "You've been coming down here long enough now, dear, that you know that's not how it works. I can't call the director in here so you to talk to him. That’s not our chain of command. I’m gonna send your paperwork where it needs to go and that’s how it’s gonna get taken care of. End of story."

Walking past Mrs. Harrison's open-door, Kevin Brown frowned when he heard the familiar voice. That's Veronica Wright in there, and she doesn't sound too happy. He shook his head. We’ve been having a good day so far here at Social Services. Now I can’t help but wonder if security is about to be a couple of years ago when she threatened to push her social worker in the face if she didn’t sign her papers for her allotment increase.
Kevin was surprised to hear Veronica let out a loud sighing sound then say, "Alright, Mrs. Harrison. In that case, I guess I'm just gonna have to let the Lord take care of it. You have yourself a blessed day. Alright?"

Kevin brought his eyebrows together in disbelief. No way that could’ve been Veronica Wright talking. But Lord knows it sounded just like her. And I know for a fact that Mrs. Harrison is her social worker.

As Veronica walked out of Mrs. Harrison’s office wearing a worried frown on her pretty brown face, he didn’t have to wonder any longer whether or not it was really her.

She was almost to the door at the end of the long hallway when Kevin said, "Wait, Ms. Wright. Can I talk to you for a minute?"

With her hand on the doorknob, Veronica turned around and looked at the man who had just called her name. She didn't know who he was, but she did recognize that he was tall, buff, and handsome. He had dark brown skin, sexy bedroom eyes, and a come-hither smile that would make even a nun take a second look. But since she wasn't necessarily on the dating sceneshe was moreso working on improving herself as a personshe quickly pushed how good-looking he was to the side.

Veronica brought her eyebrows together in confusion. Then, despite her current problems, she gave the man a pleasant smile. "Do I know you?"
Kevin shook his head. "No, you don't know me. But I know you. I think I can help you with the issue you’re having with your benefits.”

He placed his fingers on the badge that was hanging around his neck. Then he pulled it out from where it had been hidden underneath his suit-coat jacket. He flashed it in front of her. Next he said, "I’m Kevin Brown. I’m the director of the family benefits division here at this particular Department of Social Services. By the way, how are your three girls doing?”

Veronica was instantly embarrassed. This man knows me by name. He knows about my daughters. I'm sure he knows about how I used to come up here acting a fool...before I knew any better. Before I let Jesus into my heart.

It was a struggle, but she reached inside herself and pushed all those thoughts aside. Then she said, "Oh, they're doing well. My girls are doing just fine."

Kevin flashed another smile. "That's good. Like I said, I think I can help you with the problem with your application. I was walking by Mrs. Harrison's know, when she was talking to you a few minutes ago. If you want to follow me upstairs to my office, I'll pull up your file and see what I can do to help.”

Veronica was all for that of course. "Thank said your name is Mr. Brown, right?"
He nodded his head. "Yes, ma'am. Kevin Brown at your service."

Well, thank you, Mr. Brown. I’d appreciate all the help you’re trying to offer me.”

She followed him the short distance to the elevator. Then ten minutes later, Veronica had a broad smile on her face. She looked Kevin in the eye. "That's it? That's all it is to fixing it?"

He returned her grin with one of his own. "Yep. That's all it took. It'll be a couple of days before the changes propagate completely through the system, but you shouldn't miss out on your benefits for the month. I'll even give you a call as soon as everything is a hundred percent finalized." His eyes met hers. "I was happy that I could be of assistance. Is there anything else I can help you with today, Miss Wright?"

She was so happy that she couldn't help but giggle and jokingly say, "You fixed that so quick-like that now you got me hoping that you work on cars, too. I got this little bitty knocking sound under my Toyota’s hood. You think you can spread some of your magic on that situation.”

He smiled again. Then he let out a little chuckle. "No, I'm sorry, Miss Wright. I can't claim any expertise in that area. I’ve changed a couple of oil filters before and I switched out my alternator last year, but neither of those particular things would be causing a knocking sound. I wish I could help you though."
She nodded her head and beamed. "I guess I'll have to take it over to my brother-in-law then. He owns a couple of auto repair shops here in town." Then she stood up. She extended her palm towards his because she wanted to give him a handshake. “Once again, thank you...and God bless you, Mr. Brown. I can’t really thank you’re a good person.”

Kevin took Veronica’s soft hand into his, accepting the handshake that she was offering him. The second their skin made contact, Veronica felt an electric-like sensation in her palm. Whoa what in the world, she thought to herself and quickly loosened her fingers in his light grip.

She definitely knew they’d made some type of unusual connection when their hands had touched. She had no idea what that connection was, but it had made her a little nervous. So much so that she had to squelch the sudden urge to loudly clear her throat.

She quickly picked her purse up from off of his desk. “I guess I’ll head on out of here. Once again, thanks.”

Hours after Veronica Wright had left his office, for reasons unknown to him, Kevin still had her on his mind. She’s pretty, she’s funny, she has a good attitude now...a humble attitude...a spirit of humility. The Lord done made a big difference in that girl. I’m happy for her. She’s gonna make some lucky man a beautiful wife. He had to push aside the thoughts that said, Maybe you should give her a call sometime later and see if she wants to go out. Maybe she’s the Mrs. Right that you’ve been looking for. You never know.

Kevin shook his head. “No, the good ones are always taken. She’s turned her life around now...she’s a catch. Her paperwork in our system says she’s single, but I’m sure she has a man who’s part of her life. That’s usually the case with the good ones.”


* * *


Across Town an Hour Later:


Veronica parked her car in her sister’s driveway and made her way up to the front door of her sibling’s big two-story brick home. Veronica's sister, Tamera, was only twenty-four years oldwhich made her only two years older than Veronica's twenty-twobut she lived in a nice middle-class suburb of Durham.

Her sister's home was a far cry from the apartment on the outskirts of the hood that Veronica was living in. And it was an even further cry from the ghettos that the two sisters had grown up in. Despite Tamera doing much better than Veronica financially, Veronica wasn't jealous of her sister at all. She knew that everything her sister had was a blessing from God himself — blessings for her and her husband working hard and living their lives right.

Someday I'm gonna have a nice home like this myself. I have strong faith and I believe that it will happen.

As soon as Veronica rang the doorbell, her sister pulled her front door openTamera was balancing her three-month-old daughter, Ariana, on her hip and holding Veronica's almost three-year old, Keisha, by the hand.

Veronica smiled. “You been good for your auntie, Kee Kee?”

The toddler nodded her head. Then she held out her arms expectantly. She wanted her mama to pick her up. Grinning, Veronica obliged and swooped up her youngest child. Then she gave both Ariana and Keisha kisses on their little baby cheeks. Next she looked her toddler in the eye. “I’m gonna put you down so you can run over to the TV real quick. I’m gonna talk to your Auntie Tamera for a little while. Your favorite show, Sesame Street, just came on.”

Sesame Street really was Keisha’s favorite program. So she, of course, followed her mother’s command without protest.

Veronica followed Tamera to her gourmet–style kitchen. "What is this that you needed to talk to me for a few minutes about, Tamera?"

Still balancing her three-month-old baby on her hip, Tamera pointed to a high–back stool at the island in the middle of the eat in kitchen. She smiled. "Go ahead, have a seat, sis."

"Uh-oh," Veronica said while shaking her head. "You're telling me to have a seat. This must be serious.”

Tamara placed her daughter into her little bouncy chair. Then she took a seat on the other side of the island, directly across from her younger sister. She smiled. "What I have to talk to you about is not earth-shattering serious, but I do think it's important."
Veronica shook her head. Her eyes met her sister’s. "This about some man ain't it?"

"Veronica...why do you think everything I want to have a sit-down conversation with you about is always about some man?"

Smiling, Veronica replied, "Because, boo," she pointed a well manicured finger at her sister, "when you want to talk to me about some brotha that you think is gonna be a perfect match for me, that look right there is the one you always have on your face."
Tamera couldn't help but smile. "Okay, girl…it
is about a man. But Adrian is a very good-looking one with his own business and everything. He’s a widower and he doesn’t mind going out with a girl with kids.”

Lord, Veronica thought to herself. Bless my sister’s little heartit’s in the right place. But I'm focused on making myself a better person right now. I ain't got no time for trying to bring no man up into my life.
Veronica gave her sibling an indulgent smile. "Tamera, I really do appreciate you trying to look out for me like you keep trying to do. But, honey, I'm not trying to get hooked up with nobody right now. You know that.”

Tamera shook her head. "But what about your kids? Your nieces? They need a father in their lives. You know DaShay already started asking you questions more and more often about why don't she have a daddy." Tamera’s eyes met Veronica’s. “Plus, you remember how bad we had it growing up without a father. I’m sure you remember all them talks we used to have in that tiny bedroom we shared — you know, the ones about wishing we had a daddy who would come and love us for once...rescue us from that foul lifestyle our mama had surrounding us.”

Veronica frowned to herself. She knew all of that was true — especially the part about her oldest child wondering about and asking for a father. She loved her kids and didn’t want them to suffer the pain she’d experienced growing up.

Tamera kept on speaking. "In all honesty, boo, I'm also trying to hook you up because I know that deep down in your heart, you really want to find a Mr. Right for yourself, too.”

Before she could even move her lips to refute her sister’s words, Tamera added, "And don't even try to deny it. I know you, sis."

At that point, Veronica sighed. "Okay, okay, Tamera. I'll admit that I wouldn't be mad if the good Lord decided to drop the perfect man in my life. But girl, that ain't gonna happen. Now that I changed myself…gotten myself saved and not all up in the club…I'm not attracting the type of men I like anymore.”

Thinking about the type of men that both she and her sister attracted before getting saved, Tamera sucked her teeth. “Shoot...that’s a good thing, boo. I used to run the streets and live a foul lifestyle just like you, so I know what I’m talking about when I say that you used to be attracted to goons and thugs.” Tamera shook her head then continued speaking. “I’m not trying to look down my nose at nobody...cause we all done sinned and fallen short of God’s glory...but goons don’t make good husbands for women. Especially ones like yourself. You know...ones who are trying to do right with their souls and their lives.”

Veronica suddenly felt herself getting defensive. "I can't help the type of man that I like, Tamera. The type that I’m attracted to."

"Look...all I'm trying to say, Veronica, is that it's time for you to consider men who have different characteristics from the type of guy you were used to going out with. You have to remember, sis, the type of man you keep imagining yourself with — you know...the thuggish type — well, he's the very same type who got you knocked up with three kids before you even turned twenty." Tamera sighed. "If you keep going after the same type of man, you're going to get the same results."

Veronica brought her eyebrows together in deep concentration. What her sibling was saying to her was making sense.

Tamera reached across the island and covered her sister's hand with her own. She gave it an affectionate little squeeze. "I'm not trying to come off sounding all preachy to you, Veronica. But I love you, sis. I want to see you happy." She squeezed Veronica's hand again. "There's some good guys out there who aren't thugs, and you deserve one of them, boo. I know they’re out there." She smiled. "Trust me...I know because I found me one.”

Veronica blew out a breath on a sigh, causing her sister to smile and say, “I see I finally got your behind thinking. Now I have a little piece of big sister advice I want to share.”

Veronica turned her lips up in a tiny smile as well. “So am I supposed to assume that the rest of what you just told me wasn’t big sister advice?” Then she chuckled at her own little joke.

Grinning, Tamera cut her eyes at her sibling. “Boo, you know what I mean. Now on to what I had wanted to say." Tamara took a big breath. "Now here goes —," she pointed her finger at Veronica, "— I want you to go home and make yourself a list of twenty characteristics that a man has to have in order to be your Mr. Right. I think you're gonna be pleasantly surprised when you see on paper what your dream man actually looks like."

"You giving me a homework assignment, Tamera?"
Tamera laughed. "I
am a school teacher after all, so yeah...something like that."

At that point, Veronica stood up from her perch on the bar stool she’d been sitting on. "All right, Tamera. I'll do your little assignment." Then she giggled. "When is it due?"

"Oh, I think I'll be nice and give you a week."





Chapter Two


Eight Hours Later:


Kevin looked across the padded booth of a downtown burger joint at his brother, Marquise, and grinned. “What do you mean by ‘thank you for coming out to KeyShawn’s football game? KeyShawn’s my nephew. How could I not want to go out and support him in his very first high school rumble?”

Marquise smiled in return. A look of pride made its way onto his face. "My son looked good out there didn't he? About like I did when I was playing quarterback for Hillside High. You remember don’t you?"

Kevin started chuckling. "Bruh, I don't even know why you trying to go there. Keyshawn was beasting out there on that field tonight. He had them cats from Northeast scrambling."

With thoughts from twenty years earlier on his mind, when he was playing for Hillside, Marquise shook his head. "Kevin, you know I was the man back in the day. You know I was running some serious ball."

"Yeah, you were the man alright. But nowhere near the level of where your son…my nephew…is right now. This is only Keyshawn’s sophomore year. By the time he's a senior, he's gonna have pro teams scouting him. I’m talking we ‘bout to have a Panther’s quarterback in the family."

Still wearing a look of pride on his handsome face, Marquise nodded his head. "You right, bro. Imma have to give that one to you. My kid is off the chain out there on that football field."

Marquise bit into his burger. "Now sliding off the subject of me and Keyshawn, tell me how your quest for the perfect woman is working out for you? It’s been a couple months. You think you met your Mrs. Right yet?"

Kevin shook his head. "Naw, man. I don't think I met her yet. Been on a couple of dates though. There was always something — how do I say this — missing. Yeah, that's the right word. There was always something off about my last several dates."

Marquise chuckled. " in your credit card or something?"

Frowning, Kevin looked his brother in the eye. "Bruh, I told you to stop talking about my date with that girl."

"It's a good thing you had credit lock on all your bank card accounts. Other than that, Jasmine Trent would've wiped you out when she stole your wallet when you took her on that date two weeks ago. You would've had to have come to me to borrow money...instead of the other way around."

Marquise smiled and continued speaking. "But I ain't mad at you big bro for all that bank you be making. You deserve it. I'm gonna keep working hard on my little business hustle. I know my day is coming."

Kevin shook his head. “I don’t understand why you just won’t let me front you the cash you need to expand your custom furniture-making business, Marquise. People are successful because they get other people to help them all the time. That’s how half the cats in the business world made it to the top.”

"You been bailing me out all my life, Kevin. I want to be able to say I accomplished something on my own. I want to stand up on my own two feet for a change…you know?"

Kevin sighed. "You realize I'm praying for you, bro...everyday. I really want things to work out for you. Maybe you'll come to your senses someday real soon and let me front you the cash."

Marquise cheesed. "You not trying to change the subject on the sly are you, Kevin? We were supposed to be talking about you and your quest for your Mrs. Right. Not me and my business operations.”

Kevin shook his head, then he chuckled. "You’re the one who asked me about my progress on locating a soulmate for myself, bro. I didn’t bring any of that up this time. You can trust and believe that I’m not trying to change the subject on you. That’s mostly because there’s just not much to tell on the ‘me-finding-my-Mrs.-Right’ foot. I haven't run into anyone that I'm vaguely interested in lately."

Refusing to give up Marquise said, "What about the new social worker who started at your office last month? You know the one I'm talking about...the brickhouse with the thousand-watt smile and the perfect everything else."

Kevin frowned. "Naw, man…she’s pretty on the outside, but Rachel’s rotten on the inside. She’s spoiled and vain...right down to the core. Not to mention loud and bossy." He shook his head. “Don’t get me wrong, I love being in the presence of a strong, confident woman. But Rachel...let’s just say she takes being strong over the top. She just ends up coming off as mean-spirited and hateful.”

Marquise rubbed his hands together and a sly smile made its way onto his face. "You think you can introduce her to me? You know I don't discriminate like that."

Kevin chuckled. "I thought you said you were about ready to settle down, too. You know, stop running the streets and all...put an end to your man-whore days."

Me? A man-whore, Kev?”

Kevin chuckled again. “Yeah, bruh. And you know it’s the truth. I can count the number of women I’ve been with in my thirty-one years using all of my fingers and a couple of my toes. You lil’d have to get at least five other people to come in the room so you could use their fingers and toes to count on, too.”

Marquise shook his head. He smiled, then he frowned. “I guess I had to be the one to inherit an out of control love of women from our dear ol’ dad.”

Noticing that his brother had suddenly flipped the switch and become somber, Kevin placed a serious look on his face. “You know God can take that lustful spirit out of you don’t you Mark? All you have to do is submit to him, have a little faith, and be willing to keep yourself in his word. The Lord changed our daddy when he met our mama.”

You sure about all that, Kev?”

Kevin’s eyes met those of his sibling. “Yeah. I’m positive. That’s exactly what freed me from the sinful lifestyle I’d been living. You know I’ve told you that a hundred times, bruh.”

With that being said, Kevin stood up and began collecting his trash. Based on the look on his brother’s face, Kevin was happy his sibling was beginning to show signs of taking his words about Christ to heart. I’ve been talking to him about the path to salvation for years. I think it’s finally starting to sink in. Glory be to God.

Marquise grinned.  “Good luck on finding your, Mrs. Right. Too bad the women you been running into have turned out to be no-go’s.”

Kevin smiled right back. He nodded his head. “Yeah, I think that’s too bad too. But I have faith that the Lord’s gonna send my angel my way. I just have to be patient and hold out a little while longer.”

Being a slave to his own sex drive, Marquise wanted to say: There ain’t that much holding out in the world. But he squelched those words and simply replied, “Yeah, Kev...I’m sure you’re right. See you later, bro. And oh yeah...thanks for the tickets to the choir extravaganza for this upcoming Sunday. I might be a lowly sinner, but I appreciate me some good, soulful Gospel music.” He winked his eye. “Plus, a lot of fine honeys show up at these events.”

Kevin shook his head at his sibling’s words. Then he smiled. “Alright, bro. I’ll see you Sunday.”

Ten minutes later, as Kevin drove himself home, he couldn’t help but think back over the conversation he’d had that evening with his brother. More specifically, the part of their discussion about him finding a woman he was interested in came to his mind. He’d told Marquise that he hadn’t run into any humble, beautiful, interesting women lately that had caught his attention. But for some reason, Veronica Wright’s pretty face kept popping up in his mind's eye.


* * *


Two Days Later:


Kevin looked around the fully packed sanctuary of New Day of Faith Tabernacle and smiled. He’d never been to the church before, but it was a beautiful building. Not only that, but it was also filled to capacity.

He nodded his head in approval. The church being packed meant the choirs and churches who were participating in this particular event would be raising a significant amount of cash for the charity that he’d spearheaded — it was called A Second Chance and More Foundation.

Kevin had considered using his own home church for the charity extravaganza, but in the end he’d decided not to. That was because he hadn’t thought his church was large enough to handle the number of people that he suspected were gonna show up and offer their support. Looking around the spacious sanctuary again confirmed that his suspicions had been on point.

Now that they had a packed house, he decided to put aside all his worries about whether or not his event would be successful and just enjoy the performances.

Two hours later, Kevin slowly lowered his hands from giving God glory and praise. The last group who’d just performed really were anointed and their rendition of Amazing Grace had touched his soul — not to mention the souls of half the people in the sanctuary.

Seconds later, when the emcee of the evening announced the final performers of the day and brought them onstage, Kevin was still feeling the spirit of the Lord in his soul. As a sweet, angelic voice began singing Charles Jenkins' song My God is Awesome, he closed his eyes and began nodding his head in time to the music. The powerful words in the song were really moving him and whoever was singing was delivering it perfectly.

Having a sudden urge to catch a glimpse of the angel who was using God’s words so beautifully, Kevin cracked his eyes open and stared straight into Veronica Wright’s. She was the angel delivering the song. Kevin was surprised, but he knew that he shouldn’t have been. After all, he could tell from their meeting at Social Services two days earlier that she’d really been letting God work his magic in her life lately.

As she belted out Charles Jenkins' beautiful song, Veronica raised her hand up to the heavens and looked towards the sky. That particular song really spoke to her spirit. It spoke to her soul. About a quarter ways into her performance — after she’d finally lowered her gaze and had begun looking out into the audience — her eyes locked with Kevin Brown's. She couldn't help but smile and for some odd reason she couldn't tear her eyes away from his. To Veronica, in some ways it felt as if she were serenading the man and it was nothing she could do about it. She finally decided to just close her eyes and finish singing.

Belting out the last verses of the song, the spirit of the Lord fell down on her  and she couldn’t stop the fire that suddenly placed a Holy Ghost dance in her feet.

As Kevin watched Veronica Wright cry out to her Lord and Savior, he couldn’t help but shout out a couple of glories and hallelujahs himself. The spirit of the Lord was high in the house that day, that moment. He was feeling it all.


* * *


Twenty Minutes Later:


Hey, Ms. Wright...I just wanted to let you know that I was moved by your song. You have a beautiful voice...sent straight from God.”

The man’s deep baritone sounded familiar to Veronica. But seeing that her back was facing whoever had just spoken to her, she wasn’t sure who the voice belonged to.

She slung her purse over her shoulder and turned around in the fellowship hall — the fellowship hall was where the participants in the program had kept their belongings before going on stage. As soon as she saw Kevin Brown's handsome face, she became nervous for some reason. It wasn't that he scared her anything, she just couldn't put her finger on why he was making her feel the way she was feeling.

Even though she couldn't understand her nervousness, she was successful in pushing it aside and placing a shy, little smile on her face. "Mr. Brown, thank you for the compliment. I'm surprised to see you this evening. I've never seen you here before." Her eyes met his. "Are you a member of New Day of Faith Tabernacle, too? Like me?”

She knew she was babbling but she couldn't stop herself for some reason.

Grinning, Kevin shook his head. "No, I'm not a member of New Day of Faith. I just happen to be lucky enough that the pastor here agreed to house my charity event this evening."

Veronica was pleasantly surprised. "You started A Second Chance and More Foundation?"

He nodded his head. Then in a humble voice he answered, "Yeah, a couple of years ago."

Seeing that he was a social worker, and also seeing that he had gone out of his way to help her with her application a few days earlier, Veronica realized that she really shouldn't have been surprised. Kevin Brown has a big heart, she thought to herself.

Smiling, she nodded her head. "I'm impressed, Mr. Brown. Your charity’s doing a lot of good work throughout the city. We — the members here at New Day of Faith — we had a meeting a few months ago to vote on whether or not we’d allow your charity to use our facility tonight free of charge. Because of all the good stuff I’d been hearing about Second Chance, I'm proud to say I was one of the first people to raise my hand to vote yes."

Spreading his lips in a grin that revealed a row of perfect white teeth, Kevin nodded his head. "Thank you for your vote, Ms. Wright."

He would’ve continued his conversation with Veronica, but they were interrupted by another equally deep–toned voice. “Hey, Kevin,” Evangelist Jermaine Cooper said with a broad smile on his handsome face. “Bruh, I was hoping I’d catch you before you cut out of here. I have some things I want to discuss with you...some things that have to do with our little charity outreach program here at New Day of Faith.”

Veronica was surprised to witness her brother-in-law, Jermaine, give Kevin Brown a man-hug like they’d been old friends or something.

Smiling, Jermaine looked first at his sister-in-law and then back at Kevin. Next he said to them both, “Wait a second...I didn’t know you two were friends. I didn’t know you knew each other.”

Not wanting her brother-in-law to get the wrong idea, Veronica quickly responded, “Oh, we’re not friends. Mr. Brown’s my social worker...well not my social worker. He was nice enough to volunteer to help me out with a problem I was having with my application downtown at Social Services the other day. He’s the director there you know.”

Kevin felt some type of way hearing Veronica say they weren’t actually friends. He, of course, knew they weren't friends — not even acquaintances — but that still didn't stop him from wishing that they were buddy-buddy for some reason.

At that moment, Veronica's six-year-old daughter, DaShay, skipped up to them. Veronica was surprised when her little girl looked Kevin in the eye and said, "I remember you. You're the man from the social building downtown. You gave me a purple lollipop."

Kevin chuckled. He smiled at the cute child and said, "Wow, young lady, you have an excellent memory. That was almost two years ago. You’re really smart."

Veronica didn't remember the occurrence at all. But evidently my daughter did, she thought to herself. Veronica really wasn’t surprised though. That’s because she knew where remembering things was concerned, her child had a memory like an elephant.

As her daughter beamed real hard from Kevin’s compliment, Veronica asked her child, “Now what do we tell Mr. Brown for his compliment, DaShay.”

Dashay nodded her head. “Oh, that’s right...sorry, Mommy.” Then she turned to her purple lollipop benefactor. She grinned again. “Thank you, Mr. Brown.”

Kevin smiled. “Oh, you’re welcome, DaShay.”

At that point, Veronica took her daughter by the hand. She looked at both Kevin and her brother-in-law with a smile. “I guess I’ll be cutting on out of here, you guys. It is getting late—,” she looked down at her daughter, “—and this young lady right here with the good memory has to make it to school in the morning.”

Jermaine nodded his head in understanding. “You are coming to dinner at our house tomorrow evening aren't you Ronnie?”

Veronica laughed. “Of course I am. I can’t wait to taste that concoction that you’re claiming is gonna be the next winner of the national chili cook-off. My sister must be really proud that she married know, since you’re about to be a star on TV and all.”

Jermaine couldn’t help but smile at that himself. “You won’t be saying that tomorrow when you show up at our place and get to see for yourself how good my chili really is, sis.”

Still grinning, Veronica shook her head. “See you tomorrow evening, bro.” Then she turned to Kevin. “And once again, thank you for helping me with my application, Mr. Brown. I sure do appreciate it.”

Kevin nodded. “Oh you’re welcome, Ms. Wright. Remember...I’ll give you a call as soon as everything on it is finalized.”

She flashed him another quick smile. “Alright.”

Less than a minute later as she and her daughter walked out of the doors of the fellowship hall, DaShay turned to her mother with a smile on her pretty little face. “Mommy, I like Mr. Kevin. I think he’d make a good dad,” she whispered.

Veronica had been caught off guard by her daughter’s little statement, so she didn’t say anything at all in response.

Mama, do you like him, too?”

Veronica cleared her throat. “Uh, yeah. I guess so. He’s nice, sweetie. He’s a real nice guy.”

Veronica was happy that her daughter chose to take her answer at face value and move on pretty quickly to another topic. In Veronica’s eyes, talking about the turtle that James Walker had brought into class two days earlier in his backpack was a much safer discussion. However, as she drove herself and her daughter home to their apartment, she couldn’t seem to get thoughts of Kevin Brown off of her mind for some reason.

An hour later, she was surprised that she was still thinking about Kevin off and on. She sighed as she pulled on her fluffy bathrobe and took a seat at the desk in her bedroom. Picking up an ink pen and a notepad she said out loud, “Guess I might as well get started on that list that I promised Tamera that I’d do. That should get my mind off of Mr. Saved and Fabulous.”

Exactly nineteen minutes later, she stared down at the list of twenty characteristics that she wanted in her Mr. Right. She frowned at number twenty. It read: Be a lot like Kevin Brown. Then she sighed. “I think I’ll put this away and give it a try another night. I must be tired and tripping. I barely know the man. Plus he’s not my type.”