Royal and Delia shot out of her office at the news that someone was actually about to deliver a baby in her store. When they made it to the holding room, Royal immediately took control of the situation. He sent Jerry, the security guard, to call for an ambulance and gather blankets and other items from the store shelves. He gave his key ring to Delia and sent her to get his medical bag from his trunk while he tended to the scared pregnant teenager.
By the time the errand runners returned, Royal had the girl much calmer. His voice was soothing as he spoke to her. Yet it was downright affectionate when he spoke to Delia, calling her precious and claiming her as his impromptu nurse as they prepared to deliver the baby together.
The security guard proved to be useless after that. Jerry kept swooning, kept being nauseated. Finally Royal sent him out of the room to wait for the paramedics to arrive.
Quickly showing Delia how to sanitize her upper limbs all the way up to her elbows, they donned the handy surgical gloves from his medical bag and went to work. There was no time to lose. Donita, the pregnant teenager, was fully dilated and the baby’s head was already trying to crown.
Like true teammates, Royal and Delia worked together to help Donita bring forth this new life. Royal’s words stayed soothing to the birth mother, affectionate to his beloved.
By the time the healthy baby girl was delivered, the paramedics had arrived and were ready to take the new mother and child to the hospital. The afterbirth had been put into a small baby tub, sealed in plastic and sent to the hospital for examination also. Royal promised to follow along later after he had a moment to wash up and have a few parting words with the store owner.
“Delia, whomever you get to clean this room up, make sure they wear protective gloves at all times,” Royal told her once they were alone again. “We barely know Donita’s full name, much less her medical history and so you need to be very careful in handling anything with bodily fluids on them.”
“We’ll be careful, Royal. I promise,” Delia said, looking at him with deep admiration and awe. He’d been so good under pressure. So calm. She was more in love with him now than ever before.
“Good, now come into the bathroom so I can make sure you dispose of those gloves and wash your hands correctly before I leave. Since there’s a small blood splatter on the bottom of your shirt, you need to wash up real good and change your blouse. Hopefully that garment bag I saw hanging on the back of your office door is filled with changing clothes.”
“It is.” Delia nodded as she followed the amazing man to the adjoining bathroom. “I also have a shower in my private bathroom.”
“Excellent.” Royal smiled back at her. “I like that you always come prepared, baby. You make one heck of a nurse, too.”
Delia blushed beneath his loving gaze and compliments.
In the holding room’s bathroom, Royal stood next to her at the sink and showed her the proper procedure to remove and discard the used gloves. When it came to the washing their hands part, he stood behind her with his arms about her body.
Delia couldn’t help but moan at his nearness.
“I feel it, too, baby, but there’s not enough time to get into anything. I have to leave soon,” Royal whispered close to her ear. “Come see me tonight and we’ll celebrate our latest joint accomplishment the right way.”
Delia was about to tell him that she couldn’t on account of her new lease on life, but once again they were interrupted.
“Miss Valentine, oh…” Jerry’s voice trailed off when he noticed the intimate position the couple were standing in.
“Yes, Jerry?” Delia said, moving away from Royal. To hide some of her embarrassment, she reached for paper towels from the nearby container and busied herself with the drying of her hands.
“There are TV crews out front. Somebody must have told them what happened here, because they all want to talk to you and the doc,” Jerry replied, acting as if he hadn’t seen what he’d just seen.
Delia’s gaze sought Royal’s. “The spotlight can’t seem to help but find you, huh, Dr. Seeger?”
Royal shook his head. “I didn’t plan…” He stopped, remembering that they weren’t alone. “While you change your blouse, Miss Valentine, I’ll deal with the news crew.” He reached for paper towels to dry his hands.
“Thank you, doctor,” Delia replied through tight lips. Then she threw the used paper towels in the nearest trash can and stalked out of the room en route to her office.
Royal blew out a frustrated breath. Right then and there he knew that she was not coming over to his house to celebrate tonight or any other night until he could stop drawing so much attention to himself.
* * *
Fortunately, the newspaper and TV crews were kind to Delia, only focusing on the present, not the past. In fact, they deemed her and Royal heroes. Generous heroes at that since Delia gave Donita an open account at her store for the first year of the baby’s life. Royal gave Donita free medical care and offered to pay for her and the baby’s return to their relatives down in
It seems that Donita was a runaway, who’d left home last year with her much older boyfriend. The guy dumped her in her first trimester, leaving Donita to live from pillow to post for the remaining months of her pregnancy.
Sensing that the baby was going to be born soon, Donita had come into Delia’s store trying to steal last minute things for her child. She didn’t have enough money to buy those things for herself and didn’t have much support from the people whose she stayed with.
In gratitude to her generous heroes, Donita named her baby Precious Valentine. Precious, because that’s the name she kept hearing Dr. Seeger say all during the delivery. And Valentine, because that was the last name of the nice lady that owned the store and didn’t press charges.
Though Delia continued to keep her distance from Royal, despite the good press, she did consent to take several photos with him, Donita, and the baby for a few local news outlets.
Nearly everyone in town loved those photos. Valena framed the copies she clipped out of the newspaper. She hung one in the living room and sent the others to their friends in
Delia’s employees framed a copy and hung them near the front of the store. Pregnant customers particularly stopped to admire the photo. They liked knowing that if they happened to go in labor at the baby store, there was someone on hand with experience to help them.
Unfortunately, there was one person that hated those photos with Delia and Royal in them. It was a news reporter at that. Her name – Vanna Briscoe. She’d had her own baby by now and was struggling as a single mother in every way.
Something’s going on between them two. I just know it! Vanna thought, determined to find out more about this woman who clearly had two things she wanted most right now – access to Royal’s heart and an unlimited supply of baby items.
© 2008 by Suprina Frazier