There was a threefold purpose to Royal’s call to Aisha. One, to let her know of his interest in Delia. Two, to find out if there was any animosity between them on account of what E-Blade had done. Three, to enlist Aisha and even Bonz’s help if they were willing.
The one and only time Delia discussed the intricate details of her former life, she failed to mention how things were between her and her
All Royal could remember Delia saying about Bonz and Racker post-shooting was that they both survived what E-Blade had done to them. Everything else he researched on his own via family gossip and media databases.
For instance, Royal knew that Bonz not only survived E-Blade’s revenge, but in many ways had thrived. Not only was Aisha’s husband completely legit in all (not just some) of his business dealings, Bonz still married the love of his life, made it out of that wheelchair, and started a family with her.
Though Royal hadn’t seen or talked to Aisha since her brother’s funeral a few years back, it was easy for him to obtain her contact information thanks to his mother. Carmen kept up with everybody in the family via her quarterly newsletter. In fact, she’d been the one to tell him about Aisha’s marriage and the conditions surrounding it.
Thinking about that family newsletter now, Royal went to his home office and retrieved it from a file. “Aisha Norwood-Forsyth,” he read aloud as he perused the newsletter moments later. Settling into his desk chair, he picked up the phone to his right and dialed his cousin’s home number.
“Hello, may I speak with Aisha?” Royal said when a man answered the line a few seconds later.
“Sure, may I ask who is calling?” It was Aisha’s overprotective husband – Gregory ‘Bonz’ Forsyth.
“It’s her cousin, Royal Seeger. Or
Needless to say, that nickname did not go over well with his mother. Carmen named him Royal in order to set a certain precedence for how she wanted the rest of his life to be. She still held him to that high standard today.
To his credit, Royal always took his cousins’ ribbing with a grain of salt. He never once allowed what Aisha and Dominic said to get him down. If anything, their words only propelled him to try harder to be the best at everything he did. Royal also secretly grew to love that nickname because it made him feel like a regular kid instead of an untouchable child prodigy.
Royal smiled at the endearment Bonz had for Aisha. It reminded him of the endearment he had for Delia.
“I apologize for not calling you sooner, Aisha,” Royal replied. “Things have been very busy for me lately.”
“I imagine so, you being a big time doctor and all. Congratulations on all those awards you won recently,” Aisha said. “They took up just about the whole newsletter, but I’m happy for you just the same.” She chuckled.
“Thanks. And you know how Mama is. She goes on and on about every little thing I do.”
“Yes, we all know,” Aisha teased.
Royal laughed, inwardly chiding himself for not keeping in tough with her more often. He forgot how much fun Aisha was to be around in person or via phone. “So how are you getting along in life?” he asked, slowly building up to want he really wanted to talk about. “I heard about your marriage and first baby. Heard you were pregnant again, in fact.”
“You heard right. I married a wonderful man who enjoys keeping me very happy and…pregnant.” Aisha chuckled, patting her round belly as she sat down on a stool at the kitchen island.
“Right, right,” Bonz agreed in the background as he made his way over to the fridge of a snack. Though he walked with a slight limp now, that was minor compared to how traumatic his injuries had been.
Royal smiled at their jovial banter. “It’s good to hear you’re so happy,” he told Aisha. He longed for that kind of happiness with Delia. “How are your children doing? The one running around the house and the one running around in your belly.”
Aisha laughed harder. “They’re both healthy and strong.” With her chuckles trickling to an end, she added, “So,
Royal burst out laughing. It had always been hard to pull anything over on Aisha. Dominic had been the only one to ever really fool her about anything.
“Although I am interested in your life, too, I was actually calling about a mutual friend of ours,” Royal confessed.
“Oh, which mutual friend would that be?” As Aisha talked, she reached into the island drawer and pulled out all the cutlery that her husband would need for his sandwich. As usual, she and Bonz were a true team in every way.
“Delia Valentine. She was a former patient of mine. I want her to be more now,” Royal replied. He didn’t mind bearing his soul to Aisha. She’d always been non-judgmental and accepting of others. In fact, she was the first one to fully accept Dominic’s homosexual lifestyle. It had taken Royal years to get used to the idea of having an openly gay relative.
Towards the end of Dominic’s life they’d finally reached a point where differences in sexuality didn’t matter anymore. The two men had even started playing the occasional golf game together. In his will, Dominic left Royal his entire golf club collection. Those clubs were still being used today.
“So you’re crushing on Delia, huh?” Aisha smiled wide. “And to think I was going to recommend her to you some two plus years ago.”
“You were?” Royal was surprised by that news. “Why didn’t you?”
“For one thing, I wasn’t sure if she even had a medical problem back then,” Aisha replied. “For another thing, Delia and I weren’t on good terms.”
“How are you two now? Matter of fact, how is Delia’s relationship with all of her
“Good. I figured you were just the man to take care of it. As for the crew’s relationship with Delia, it couldn’t be better. We never blamed her for what E-Blade did. In fact, Bonz personally made Delia a silent partner in our daycare center so that she’d have steady money coming in to take care of her family since the media made it too hard for her to work there anymore.”
“I see.” Royal understood a lot better why Delia shunned media attention. Why she discontinued their relationship because he was a media magnet. Just this week, he was featured in the Valentine’s Day issue of a local publication, which had compiled a list of
“I’m glad everyone is on good terms now,” Royal continued. “But tell me, why were you and Delia ever on bad terms? She wasn’t trying to get your man, was she?”
“Back then Delia was still too in love with that crazy baby-daddy of hers to look at any man twice,” Aisha replied, making no apologies for her candor. Though she’d forgiven E-Blade because it was what God required, she still didn’t have a high opinion of him. “No, what Delia was trying to do was help her cousin get my man.” Aisha scoffed. “That same cousin ended up getting her man instead, which caused a whole lot of problems for everybody.”
“I see.” Royal frowned at that bit of information. He’d known about E-Blade’s infidelity with Delia’s cousin, yet he had no idea that Delia tried to pawn that same cousin off on Aisha’s man first. “She must have been really desperate back then.”
“Too desperate,” Aisha replied, blowing a kiss at her husband as he exited the kitchen with his sandwich. Bonz winked back. “Thankfully, Delia has changed a lot since then.” She naturally assumed that Royal knew about Delia’s latest change since he seemed to know everything else.
“Yes, which is just one of the reasons I’m so interested in dating her,” Royal replied, vividly remembering his last tryst with Delia.
“Good!” Aisha gleefully exclaimed. “Delia needs a quality man like you in her life and her kids definitely need a good father figure. The fact that you already know what you’re getting into and still want to get into it shows me just how exceptional you are,
“Glad to have your approval.” Royal smiled. Now he couldn’t wait to tell Delia about his connection to Aisha.
“Oh you most definitely have that.” Aisha suddenly grew serious. “The only thing I’m worried about now is your mother. For all of her spirituality, Cousin Carmen might not be too accepting of a woman with Delia’s past.”
“I know. I’m hoping that Mama will get to know and love who Delia is now, before she finds out how she was back then,” Royal replied, turning serious, too. He might be able to avoid the local media knowing about Delia’s past, but his mother was a different story. How do you keep a secret like that from a parent?
“Can you love Delia regardless of her past?” Aisha asked, breaking into his thoughts.
“I already do,” Royal confessed. “I think I fell in love with Delia the first day we met.”
Aisha smiled with approval. “Then let me tell you how to make her yours,” she volunteered without him even needing to ask for her assistance.
Royal was very encouraged when he got off the phone with his cousin. Aisha had told him exactly how to win the most brownie points with Delia. The fact that she’d been on Delia’s good and bad sides made her relationship tips even more credible. Now Royal knew the things that made Delia mad as well as the things that made her glad. He would use those things to his advantage starting bright and early tomorrow morning.
© 2008 by Suprina Frazier