Royal didn’t get Delia’s second text message until . After her first message, he turned off his cell phone since he was not on call, and went to bed. He didn’t turn the phone back on until he woke up and made ready to go to work.
Smiling when he saw Delia’s name in his message box, Royal’s smile plunged into a frown when he actually read the message. His heart felt as if it had dropped to his stomach. Confusion clouded his brain. His knees got weak, causing him to find the nearest chair, lest he fall down.
How could Delia discontinue their relationship so easily? Especially after last night. Did she not hear him say that he loved her? Royal didn’t tell just anybody that. In fact, he’d never told anyone outside of his family that.
And what was this nonsense about not wanting to ruin his career? Royal never wanted to be an OB/GYN anyway, despite the fact that he was very good at it. That career path was his mother’s dream.
Plus, Royal now had a backup plan of being an hotelier. Hoteliers didn’t have to have wives with pristine pasts like doctors. He would make sure to tell Delia that the next time he talked with her, which was…
Using the cell phone, Royal quickly dialed Delia’s cellular, which had been their main source of contact all these months. He heaved a sigh of relief when she picked up on the first ring. Had she been waiting for him to call? Expecting it?
“I just got your last message and was hoping that we could sit down and talk about it. Can we meet somewhere for dinner tonight?” Royal said, speaking in a rush as adrenaline surged through his veins. One would think that he was in the ER right now and trying to save a patient’s life. “Or maybe you could stop by my house later tonight. That way I can tell you all about this new business idea—”
“No!” Delia nearly shouted, before self-consciously lowering her voice again. She immediately got up and closed the door to her office. “Seeing you again is only going to make things worse for the both of us,” she continued in her normal tone as she returned to her black swivel desk chair.
“Speak for yourself. I honestly don’t think it can get any worse for me, seeing as the only woman I’ve ever declared my love to has suddenly decided she doesn’t want me anymore,” Royal replied.
“Wanting you has never been the issue here, Royal. Deserving you is. You’re a good man. You deserve somebody that can love you the way you ought to be loved. Someone you can be proud to walk down the street with, present to your family, friends, and colleagues. With my past, I’m just not that person,” Delia said, bearing even more of her soul in those statements.
“Deserve me?!” Royal blew out a frustrated breath. “I don’t deserve you, precious.” His voice lowered and thickened with emotion at the same time. “There’s nothing I could have ever done right in this life to not only finally meet my soul-mate, but to also know what it feels like to be inside of her. Deep inside.” He paused when his voice threatened to break. “Baby, being inside of you is like heaven to me. Heaven,” Royal added, his voice husky with love and need.
Delia shuddered from the force of his words. She was so close to changing her mind. So close.
“I…I can’t,” Delia forced out, remembering her last failed relationship, her family’s best interest, and her newfound salvation. “I’m sorry, Royal. Please respect my wishes. And please don’t contact me again.” Then she quickly hung up before he could really change her mind.
At the click, Royal understood firsthand how desperation could drive a man to act completely out of character. Right now he wanted to drive over to Delia’s store, demand that she see him, and then kiss and make love to her until she changed her mind.
Yet Royal knew he would do no such thing. Besides the fact that he could actually get arrested for stalking Delia at her job, he didn’t really want to grovel before a reluctant woman. There had to be a better way to change Delia’s mind. A way to prove to her that her past was not going to be a hindrance to him in any way. That he’d walk away from everything just to be with her.
Delia Valentine, it’s not over between us by a long shot, Royal mused, determined to not only win her back, but also marry her. In the meantime, he had a few pregnant women to attend to.
* * *
After that phone call with Royal, Delia retrieved her purse, let her new assistant manager in charge, and went home early. She cried all the way there. Cried some more when she got there. Delia’s hot teardrops singed the hall carpet on the way to her bedroom.
Thankfully, the boys were at school. Tess was taking her nap.
Valena offered Delia as much comfort as she could. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough. The hurt was too deep. Delia was in love with a wonderful man, a wonderful man that sincerely loved her and made love to her as if she’d been created just for him. And yet she couldn’t have him. How could the pain not be deep?
“I appreciate what you’re trying to do, Mama, but I need more,” Delia told her mother among more freefalling tears. “I need for God to step in on this. I need the kind of peace that only He can give me right now.”
“Maybe we can go to God together,” Valena offered, unwilling to leave Delia alone in her current state. She’d never seen her daughter this upset before. Not even when E-Blade died.
Reaching for her mother’s hands, Delia began to pray from her heart. At some point between Heavenly Father and Amen, Valena rededicated her life to the Lord. Mourning had somehow translated into rejoicing.
When Delia and Valena were finally composed again, they made a new pact. A pact that was actually a modification of the old one that they made before relocating.
Yes, they would continue to help each other come up in life. Yes, they would continue to avoid the wrong kinds of men. Except now they would rely more on God to help them and not just one another. Now they would also avoid certain types of good men, too. Men like Royal whose light was shining so brightly that standing close to him could thrust them into the spotlight, too.
Delia and Valena knew they couldn’t risk bringing that kind of attention their family’s way. For the sake of the kids, they were going to strive to live quiet lives, lives that faded into the background of society and created no ripples in the pool of life.
© 2008 by Suprina Frazier