The days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months to nearly a mwaka as Michael is away in New York. Whenever he wasn’t rehearsing au in a costume fitting, his mind always shifted back to holly – wondering what she was doing, if she was alright au happy. There were so many times he wanted to call and talk to her, but every time he would Diana would want to talk to him au ask him for his help with the dance steps. When she did, everything else seemed to slip away as he reverted back to that nyota struck eleven-year-old boy once again, pining over a woman whom he could never have – who didn’t want him the way he wanted her. Diana was in his past and he had to songesha on and accept it, which made him think of what Diana alisema months zamani about holly not staying fourteen forever. She was going to grow up into a woman who would marry and possibly have kids with her own life, and the thought made Michael’s heartache. How would he actually feel if he saw her years down the road with another man holding her hand, kissing her forehead, and making her laugh? It nearly brought him to anger. Only he could make her laugh till she was doubled over, only he could hold her hand sweetly, only he could take care of her when she was sick in bed, him and only him.
As Michael sat in his trailer alone waiting for his makeup to dry he realized that the dynamic of their friendship would alter someday – and he wasn’t prepared for it. He realized that holly was going to grow up, but deep down in a little selfish part of him, he wanted her still to be a part of his life and not let her go. Thinking of her a dirty form at her age was far from his mind, but when she got older and into adulthood…maybe. The connection they had together wasn’t just a passing whim, but something genuine that only Michael and holly would understand. As Michael looked at himself in the mirror with his costume on and his fresh makeup drying to make him look like a scarecrow, he realized that maybe this break was just what both of them needed – perhaps he could figure out his thoughts and maybe holly could find a girlfriend to spend time with and take his place for awhile.
Meanwhile back in California, holly has been staying busy with performance, recording, and schooling. Ever since Michael left she has been determined to be the perfect woman for Michael when she sees him. Since she has gotten her period her body has altered drastically within months time. Holly’s bust has increased, her hips have expanded, her bottom has gotten larger and rounder, and her thighs thicker. She was turning into a woman and there was nothing to stop it from happening. Every morning she would wake up and examine herself in the mirror hoping that she increased zaidi from one siku to the inayofuata – hoping that the look she was turning into would interest Michael. In the mornings she would work hard in her studies, learning all that she could, taking up two foreign languages – French and Italian. In the afternoons she would record in the studio and play instruments to make beats, and in the evenings she would do interviews and performances before she would come nyumbani and work out. Working out was becoming a harder task each siku as she got zaidi tired and thicker in weight. Sometimes she worried that she was getting too curvy, but there was nothing she could do it prevent it.
The phone calls become less frequent between Michael and holly as both of them were caught up in their own lives and their obligations. When they did speak, it was the same happy chit-chat that they always had, nothing changed between them – only the distance. Without Michael in her physical space she felt zaidi isolated and alone zaidi than ever. It boggled her mind how she could live in a full house yet feel solitary when among them. The only consolation was her going up to see Michael at his premiere in New York in two weeks. Since Michael told her the tarehe a mwezi ago, she has had it circled on her ukuta calendar with a big red mduara, duara and a nyota in between other events on her calendar like “Johnny Carson onyesha appearance”, “Perform at the American muziki Awards”. As holly stands back and looks at the date, she hears her bedroom door open. “Holly.” She turns around to face her mom, “Yes?” “I just want wewe to know that when wewe go to New York I won’t be coming with you.” holly can feel a wave of relief wash over her at the news. “Why?” “Your dad’s sister just called, she wants us to come down to discuss something about your grandmother’s will, but why we can’t discuss it over the phone I have no clue. Claire will go with you.” Good ole Claire, sometimes having a bodyguard had its advantages, especially if wewe get a really nice one, they can be good talking buddies. “That’s fine. Thanks for the heads up.” She expects her mother to leave, but instead she comes in and sits at the edge of her bed. “Are wewe excited to see Michael?” holly feels bewildered. Not once since she has known Michael has her mother ever asked her what her thoughts and feelings were about the subject, now that her mom is trying to act nice is suspicious. “Uh, yeah, I am. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him.” “I’m sure he’ll be surprised.” “At what?” “How wewe look. You’ve certainly grown up within a year, and now you’ll be seventeen within another month.” “I’m sure he’s changed too,” holly mumbles looking out her window. Her mom shrugs while standing up to walk back out. “Who knows, maybe he has a girlfriend now.” holly snaps her head at her as she shuts the door, a sickening feeling hits her like a blow, what if he is with someone and doesn’t want to be bothered with little holly Williams anymore now that she has turned bigger and older?
“Michael will wewe calm down!” Latoya barks as Michael is fixing his Afro in the mirror the night of the premiere. “I can’t help it Toya, I haven’t seen holly in nearly a mwaka and I don’t want her to see me as a bum when she gets here.” Latoya rolls her eyes as she stands kwa the door, “Believe me Mike, just the fact that she gets to see wewe will make her happy. Now calm down, she’ll be here any minute. Michael takes a deep breath and stands back to look at his reflection. He abhors the sight of himself, but luckily his acne is not that bad tonight. Inside he can feel himself jittery and nervous about seeing holly again, wondering if she is still the same little girl and if she moved on from him as a friend. He wipes the sweat away from his brow line and sees his hands shaking. Suddenly, there is a knock on the hotel door; Michael instantly smiles knowing that it is her, his little Holly. “I’ll get it!” Michael shouts across the room to Latoya’s bedroom. As he grabs the doorknob he can barely contain his excitement, Michael swings the door open and sees holly standing smiling away at him. But its not the same Holly, this is not his little Holly, but a woman. “Aren’t wewe going to say anything?” holly laughs as Michael stands there with the door opened not saying a word. “You are happy that I’m here, right?” holly asks, her smile slowly decreasing, her made-up eyes searching his looking for an answer. It seems to snap Michael back to reality.
“Of course I am, come here, give me a hug.” As he pulls her into a hug he notices that it feels different, he quickly pulls her away making holly confused. “Uh…come in, please. Thanks for coming,” he closes the door behind her and walks her to the couch, keeping her at a distance trying not to look at her. “Wow, so formal. I must say Michael after all this time I expected a little zaidi enthusiasm from you.” holly tries to look in his eyes but they keep darting away from her. Holly’s worst fear is coming true, he has found somebody else and now he no longer wants her around. After a moments silence she lightly coughs to ease the tension between them. “This is a nice hotel, but I’m sure you’ll be ready go home,” she remarks looking out the window of the living room. Michael looks at her from behind; he sees that she now has the body of a woman now everything is reconfigured and different. She is the epitome of gorgeous with her new long hair curled at the ends and pulled back with a red bow. He was wrong; she was no longer his little Holly, the dynamic between them has already shifted, and seeing her now so mature is making his chest tighten with anxiety. Michael wasn’t prepared for this.
holly looks over at him and smiles, “You can truly see the whole city from here, can’t you?” “You really can,” Michael mumbles going to the kitchen. “You want a drink, Holly?” “Sure, a koki if wewe got one.” She follows him into the jikoni and scares him as he shuts the cabinet door and sees her standing there. “You scared me,” he remarks pouring her koki in a glass. holly folds her arms in front of her, “That doesn’t seem to be the only thing I’m doing to you.” “What do wewe mean?” holly scratches her head in agitation, “I don’t know, it just seems that wewe don’t want me here.” “That’s not true, I’m glad you’re here.” “Then why won’t wewe look at me au at least face me?” Michael grabs her coke, turns to face her and gives her the coke. “See, I’m facing you.” “Holly! It’s so great to see you!” Latoya shouts coming in the jikoni and hugging her from behind. “Oh my gosh girl, wewe look great! California certainly agrees with you.” holly laughs and looks down at her tanned skin, “Thanks Latoya, a lot has changed in nearly a year.” “I’ll say, you’re now how old?” “I’ll nearly be seventeen in a few months.” Michael nearly chokes on his water. He never realized she would be that old when they met again, this couldn’t be. She was a girl when he left her and now he is meeting a young woman in her place.
“’Excuse me a moment,” Michael mumbles as he leaves the kitchen, holly watching his every move. What could she do that was so wrong? Is he now disgusted with her? She feels bewildered and hurt that Michael of all people would treat her this way. When she finds a moment, holly sneaks away to Michael’s bedroom where she knows he is he would always go to his room back nyumbani when he felt uncomfortable. Knocking softly on the door she hears his voice telling her to come in. As she walks in she sees him sitting on the edge of the kitanda looking down at the ground, he looks up at her as she closes the door behind her. “Michael, what have I done? I thought wewe would be happy to see me.” She stands in front of him, forcing Michael to inhale her sweet smelling perfume. “I am happy to see you, it’s just different that’s all, you’ve changed.” holly looks down at her body and crosses her arms across her chest in defense. “It’s not like I had a choice in the matter. Why should it matter though?” “It matters because the way I used to behave around wewe has to change.” “What?” holly exclaims, sitting down beside him and clutching his bicep. “What are wewe talking about?” He turns to her, “Don’t wewe see Holly? You’re a young woman now, I can’t…I can’t hold your hand au hug wewe freely anymore without being scrutinized kwa someone.” “I don’t understand, wewe think people will talk about our friendship?” “Now they will. Holly, when we first met wewe were like my own little sister, we could do everything together, now…” “Now wewe look at me differently,” holly whispers with tears welling up in her eyes, she slides away from her slowly. At this moment this is the last thing Michael wants her to do.
“I’m no longer your little holly anymore, and now wewe resent me for it.” “I don’t resent wewe for it, I’m just mad things can’t be the same.” “Just because I grew up?” Tears slide down Holly’s cheeks unashamed, “Don’t wewe like me anymore, Michael?” “Of course I do.” Michael stands up and leans against the wall. “No, Michael, I mean do wewe like me the way a man likes a woman?” Michael’s eyes widen at her question, “Why are wewe asking me this?” “Because Michael I like wewe zaidi than a friend, I realized while wewe were away that wewe mean a lot to me in my life.” She stands up and stands in front of him, touching his suit softly at his chest.
He grabs her hands and holds them in his “Holly, wewe are still a minor and I’m an adult, things won’t work even if I want them too.” Between tear covered lashes she smiles, “Then wewe do feel something for me?” “Holly wewe are a special lady,” Michael begins. She gets angry and snatches her hands away from him. “No! I want to know right here and right now if wewe want to be with me. Don’t treat me like a little child.” “But wewe are Holly, wewe have the body of a woman, and the age of a minor.” “And if I wasn’t?” “Then…then things would be different. But not now.” There’s a knock on the bedroom door. “Michael, come on we need to get going to the premiere the rest of the family is joining us there. Where’s Holly? I can’t find her.” “Check the bathroom,” Michael shouts back as he looks holly in the eyes. “You still haven’t answered me if wewe want me,” holly whispers. “Ask me again when you’re eighteen, until then please come with me to the premiere and stand kwa me.” He grabs her hand and kisses it softly, and then again, and again until he is at her wrist with kisses. He realizes what he is doing and abruptly stops. “C’mon, we need to go.” He heads towards the door till he realizes that she is not walking behind him. Michael walks up to her and wraps his arm around her, kissing her forehead, making her smile as they walk towards the door together.