Perfect Fit

By: Brenda Jackson

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


To the love of my life, Gerald Jackson, Sr. and to my sons, Gerald Jackson, Jr. and Brandon Jackson.

To Cindy Clay for letting me pick her brain on a subject where I have no experience—getting back into the dating scene.

To my aunts, Jennie Bell Mercer and Josephine Cooper. Thanks for always being there for me.

To my Heavenly Father. I’m everything I am because you love me.





PART ONE


It is better to trust the Lord than to put confidence in men.

—Psalms 118:8





CHAPTER ONE


Gabe

Detroit, Michigan





Gabriel Blackwell had a low tolerance level for women who constantly tripped on excess emotional baggage, and the one sitting across from him had bags packed so heavy he wondered how she was lugging them around.

After listening to her moan, weep and groan for the past hour, he’d just about had it. There were only so many burdens a mortal man could take from a woman who refused to see the light of day because her lover of the past two years had made one mistake too many.

He lifted the wineglass to his lips and took a sip as he continued to listen to her whine. Since this was their first date, she was evidently clueless that this was not the way to go about establishing a new relationship with someone. When he’d picked her up for dinner, he’d been truly impressed since she definitely was a looker who had everything in all the right places. For once he had thought his mother, who’d harassed him into going out on this blind date, had finally done something right. It didn’t take long for him to change his mind and decide that instead, she’d definitely done something wrong. En route to the restaurant when a certain song by Luther Vandross began playing on the car’s radio, the woman had begun crying her eyes out over what she’d tearfully described to him as “painful memories.” Evidently the pain only got worse, because she’d been sobbing ever since. Several times he had offered to take her back home, but she’d refused, saying that at some point she had to get on with her life. And each time he’d come close to telling her that she was exhibiting a piss-poor job of doing so.

He knew of very few men who needed or wanted the stress of getting involved with someone who couldn’t regain control of her emotions and let go. He’d found out the hard way three years ago that some women actually enjoyed bemoaning a lost cause. He had fancied himself in love with such a woman. After they had dated exclusively for ten months, she broke things off between them the moment her ex-lover returned to town and decided he wanted her back. The scars from that encounter had been slow to heal.

“I guess I’m not making a good impression tonight with it being our first date and all, but I can’t help it,” the woman said, breaking into Gabe’s thoughts as she sniffed into the handkerchief he’d given to her earlier.

When he didn’t say anything, she continued by saying, “I can’t believe I’m still upset over the fact that he left me. He was nothing but a total jerk anyway.” A few minutes later she added, “But still, after what we used to mean to each other, you’d think he would have the decency to at least return my phone calls.”

Gabe lifted a brow, wondering if she really thought a jerk would actually do something decent. Then, belatedly, what she’d said caught his attention. “You’ve tried calling him?” he asked, more in astonishment than interest. She had spent the past hour telling him how she’d discovered the guy had hocked her jewelry to pay his gambling debts, as well as the fact that he’d been carrying on an illicit affair with a woman in the office where he worked. As far as Gabe was concerned, the man had two strikes against him. She was definitely better off without him and had said so herself several times during the course of the evening. Yet in the same breath, she’d just admitted that she’d tried contacting him. Gabe determined she was a glutton for punishment and was taking obsessive love to an all-new high … or in his opinion, a very disgusting low.

“Yes, I’ve been trying to reach him for the past two days, ever since I found out about my condition,” she finally answered as fresh tears appeared in her eyes.

Gabe inhaled sharply, almost choking on the wine he’d just sipped. He cleared his throat and shifted uneasily in his chair, then inquired as calmly as he could, “Your condition?”

Red, swollen, tear-soaked eyes met his gaze. She again put his handkerchief to use as she sobbingly replied, “I’m pregnant.”

The next day



Joella Blackwell looked at her son and said calmly, “The situation you described doesn’t sound like a major crisis to me, Gabriel.”

Gabe shook his head in disbelief, clearly stunned. After a brief moment of recovery, he was almost certain he had misunderstood his mother’s response, so he decided to tell her again.

“I said the woman who you talked me into taking out last night announced over dinner that she’s pregnant.”

And just in case his mother still didn’t get it, he clarified by saying, “She’s going to have a baby, and before you give me an all-accusing stare, just remember that last night was our first date and under the circumstances it was definitely our last.”

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