Brody was on his way to his mother’s place to have dinner with her when he spotted Natalia walking down the sidewalk with a guy. They were talking animatedly and laughing. For some reason which he couldn’t explain, it bothered him to see them together. The light turned red and he stopped. He sat there, watching them. Who was he? Were they dating and if so, how come she never mentioned that to him? He was Hispanic so it couldn’t be a relative. Who was he? How long had she known him?
The impatient blowing of a horn behind him jolted him and he went through the intersection. Should he had pulled over ahead of them and gotten out of the car? Then, she would have introduced them and he would have known who the guy was. Why did it bother him so much? He was really rattled. His hands gripped the steering wheel. He was in a foul mood now.
“What’s the matter?” was the first thing his mother asked when she saw him. After they hugged and he removed his jacket, she took it from him, studying him closely. Something was up. He looked upset. She hoped it had nothing to do with Kalisha and her engagement.
“Nothing,” he was quick to deny. He went to the washroom to wash his hands and then joined her at the dining table.
After they said Grace, she insisted, “Something is wrong, Brody. What is it? Did you run into Kalisha again?”
“No. This has nothing to do with her or Professor Warren.”
“I’m relieved to hear that. What or whom has gotten you so upset?”
“On my way over I saw Natalia.”
“Oh, how is she?”
“Good. Explain to me why seeing her has got you so upset.”
“She was walking down the sidewalk with a guy.”
Marianna smiled. Now she understood the reason for his mood. “So, who’s the guy?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you think he’s someone she’s dating?”
“I don’t know. If she was dating someone, she would have told me. We’re supposed to be friends. I told her about Kalisha.”
“Why don’t you ask Natalia the next time you are in touch with her?”
“It may not be what you think at all. They could just be friends like you and she are.”
“They seemed pretty chummy to me.”
“Brody, you’re jealous!”
He scowled at her. “Don’t be ridiculous, Mother,” he said. “I’m not jealous.”
“I think you are.” That pleased her because it meant that he was developing feelings for Natalia whom she was very fond of. She was a much better match for him than Kalisha.
“Natalia and I are just friends.”
“Maybe seeing her with that guy has made you realize that you want to be more than friends with her and it explains why you’re jealous.”
“I’m not jealous.”
“All right, then, tell me why you’re so upset.”
“I don’t know.”
“Did it bother you to see her with him?”
“Yes, it did.”
“I don’t know.”
“You know, there’s nothing wrong with admitting that you’re jealous. It just means that you’re developing feelings for her.”
“I’m not jealous,” he insisted.
“All right.” She didn’t press the issue but she knew that jealousy was the reason for his behavior. Sooner or later, he would have to admit it to himself. She wondered if she should let him know that Natalia had feelings for him. She had confided that to her a couple of years ago.
No, she wouldn’t betray Natalia’s trust. Perhaps when Brody asked her about the guy he had seen her with, she would use that opportunity to let him know how she really felt about him. Marianna hoped that they would become more than friends, though. “I know you’re upset but, Honey, let’s try to enjoy this time we have together. It’s not often that we see each other because we’re both so busy with our careers so let’s savor this moment and make the best of it. Tomorrow you can sort things out with Natalia.”
“All right, Mother. I’m sorry. Let’s enjoy this wonderful dinner you have gone to so much trouble to prepare and talk about other things.”